Kuwait Asks: Can You Give Us a TOW?
The TOW 2A is an improved version of the original Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided missile that’s designed for “bunker busting” attacks on fortifications, bunkers and urban structures. It can also defeat reactive armor if used against tanks et. al. The TOW 2A has a range of 3,750m.
The TOW 2B, meanwhile, features a dual-mode sensor and a new armament section equipped with 2 warheads substantially different from those used in other TOW versions. Earlier TOWs are direct-attack missiles with nose-mounted warheads that fire forward. The TOW 2B is designed to fly over the top of a tank and destroy it from above, where it is less heavily armored, by simultaneously detonating the missile’s two Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) warheads downward. The fly-over shoot-down flight profile also permits the attack of targets in defilade, or protected by berms or other fortifications. TOW 2B resembles the TOW 2A, with a 6-inch diameter warhead section in front, but without the standoff probe.
TOW RF variants add a new wireless radio frequency command data link, rather than the wire connection that the anti-armor missile has used since it was introduced more than 30 years ago. Canada was the first TOW2 RF export customer, but Israel has also requested the missiles. Now Kuwait has added its own request, which follows up on a 2005 DSCA request for TOW-2A and TOW-2B missiles…
Contracts & Key Events
Jan 3/08: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Kuwait’s formal request for 2,106 TOW-2A Radio Frequency missiles, 21 Buy-to-Fly missiles, 1,404 TOW-2B Radio Frequency missiles, 14 Buy-to-Fly missiles, containers, spare and repair parts, supply support, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of program support. The estimated cost is $328 million.
Kuwait already has TOW-2 missiles in its inventory, and will have no difficulty absorbing these additional missiles. Raytheon Corporation of Tucson, AZ will be the p;rime contractor, and the sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Kuwait. The DSCA adds that:
“The proposed sale of additional TOW-2 missiles will fill an urgent requirement to enhance the reliability of Kuwait’s TOW missile stock as its stocks of existing TOW missiles are nearing the end of their shelf life. The additional Buy-to-Fly missiles will be purchased for test purposes.”
Aug 4/05: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Kuwait’s formal request for 436 TOW-2A & 2B Anti-armor Guided Missiles as well as associated equipment and services. Kuwait has requested 288 TOW-2A missiles, 4 TOW-2A Fly-to-Buy missiles for testing, 140 TOW-2B missiles, and 4 TOW-2B Fly-to-Buy missiles. Spare and repair parts, supply support, publications and technical data, and other related elements of program support are also included. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $19 million.
The prime contractor is the Raytheon Corporation of Mesa, AZ. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale, and implementation will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Kuwait.
Note that this is not a contract. DID has been unable to find a corresponding contract to this request, and Raytheon has declined to provide further information.