Despite modernization that has led to advanced anti-armor weapons like the Javelin and Hellfire fire and forget guided missiles, the wire-guided, operator-controlled BGM-71 TOW missile family remains a mainstay thanks to modernization, specialization, improved sighting systems, and pre-existing compatibility with a wide range of ground vehicles. TOW remains the US Army and Marine Corps’ primary heavy anti-tank/ precision assault weapon deployed on more than 4,000 TOW launch platforms including HMMWV jeeps, the Army’s M1134 Stryker ATGM variant and M2/M3 Bradley IFVs; the Marines’ LAV-AT wheeled APC and SuperCobra attack helicopters; and numerous foreign vehicles. Designation Systems notes that more than 620,000 BGM-71 missiles of all versions had been built for all customers by 2001.
Raytheon Co. in Tucson, AZ was recently awarded a pair of contracts that illustrate its continued production and maintenance work on these missiles.
The first contract involves engineering services for the TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-Guided) weapon system family of missiles and TOW fire control systems including: ITAS (Improved Target Acquisition System), IBAS (Improved Bradley Acquisition Subsystem), T2SS (TOW 2 Subsystem), and M220 Ground TOW. This is a one-year contract with five one-year options, and a total potential value of $122 million. See release.
The other contract is a $45 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for TOW 2A bunker-buster and TOW 2B top-attack missiles. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ and is expected to be complete by Nov. 30, 2008. This was a sole source contract initiated on July 15, 2002 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-04-C-0061).
September 23/22: RFI For Replacement The US Army’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space has issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the Close Combat Missile System-Heavy (CCMS-H). The CCMS-H is to replace the existing BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile. The new missile must be able to destroy Tier 1 armored threats and field fortifications. It must have dual command guidance such as Fire and Forget, Command-Line of Sight, or Semi-Active Laser homing while incorporating reprogrammable target prioritization capability. The Army intends to store the CCMS-H for up to ten years and the missile must be ready to be fired at any time.
November 25/20: Philippines The US government donated 100 TOW-2A guided anti-tank missiles to the Philippines on November 23. US National Security Advisor (NSA) Robert C. O’Brien participated in the ceremonial handover of the weapons. The missiles will support the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ efforts to defeat ISIS-East Asia in the Southern Philippines. Following the recent typhoons that ravaged the Philippines and forced thousands of people from their homes, NSA O’Brien announced an additional $3.5 million in US humanitarian assistance to disaster-stricken communities.
September 13/19: FMS To Morocco The US Department of State approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Morocco of various TOW-2A missiles. The deal is valued at $776 million. Morocco had requested a possible sale of 2,401 TOW 2A, Radio Frequency Missiles (BGM-71-4B-RF); and 28 TOW 2A, Radio Frequency Missiles (BGM-71-4B-RF), Fly-to-Buy missiles for lot acceptance testing; and 400 M220A2 TOW Launchers and/or 400 M41 Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS) Launchers. Also included are missile support equipment; Government furnished equipment; technical manuals/publications; spare parts; tool and test equipment; training; US Government technical and logistical support, contractor technical support, and other associated equipment and services. The BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) is an American anti-tank missile. The TOW 2 is an upgraded version of the TOW. This weapon system is composed of new and more capable BGM-71D missile, new reusable launcher, missile guidance set, and sight system.
May 15/19: TOW 2A, TOW 2B Aero and TOW Bunker Buster Raytheon Missiles Systems won 101.3 million to build the tactically launched and optically tracked wireless-guided missiles, or TOW. The company will build the radio-controlled anti-tank missiles for the US Army. The weapon system includes TOW 2A, TOW 2B Aero and TOW Bunker Buster versions. It is deployed by more than 40 international Armed Forces and integrated on more than 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms. According to Raytheon, the TOW missile enables ground forces to achieve overmatch against adversary armored and wheeled systems, regardless of the environment or conditions. Raytheon has delivered more than 700,000 TOW weapon systems and expects upgrade programs will extend the missile’s life cycle beyond 2050. They were first produced in 1970. The company will perform work in Tucson and expects completion on August 31, 2022.
October 10/18: New propulsion system Raytheon is being contracted to develop a new propulsion system for the US Army’s TOW missile. The contract is valued at $21 million and covers three years of research and development necessary to make required performance improvements to the tube-launched, optically tracked TOW missile. “Improving TOW’s propulsion system will increase range and deliver enhanced protection for ground troops while providing them with more capability,” said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. The wire-guided, operator-controlled BGM-71 TOW missile family external link remains a mainstay thanks to modernization, specialization, improved sighting systems, and pre-existing compatibility with a wide range of ground vehicles. The new propulsion system will be integrated into all TOW missile variants, including the top and direct attack 2B, direct attack 2A and Bunker Buster missiles. The TOW weapon system is scheduled to remain in the US Army’s inventory until the 2050s.
March 26/18: DSCA clearance The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Saudi Arabia of TOW 2B (BGM-71F-Series) missiles for an estimated cost of $670 million. The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has requested to purchase up 6,600 TOW 2B missiles and 96 TOW 2B fly-to-buy lot validation missiles. The principal contractor is Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, AZ. The wire-guided, operator-controlled BGM-71 TOW missile family remains a mainstay thanks to modernization, specialization, improved sighting systems, and pre-existing compatibility with a wide range of ground vehicles. In September 2017, Raytheon has been awarded a $31.5 million US Army contract modification for domestic and foreign military sales of the BGM-71 TOW guided anti-tank missile. The contract is scheduled for completion by December 31, 2018 after which the missiles will be delivered to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the US military. This deal comes at a time of heightened geo-political tension in the region and can be seen as a US foreign policy and national security initiative aimed at strengthening the security of one of its most important allies in the Middle East. This sale is in line with US initiatives providing key partners in the region with modern systems that enhance interoperability and increase stability.
September 20/17: Raytheon has been awarded a $31.5 million US Army contract modification for domestic and foreign military sales of the BGM-71 TOW guided anti-tank missile. Both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, in addition to the US military, will receive the missiles after production at facilities in Tucson and Farmington, Ariz., scheduled for completion by December 31, 2018. Originally wire-guided, the newest versions of the TOW are completely digital, have a range of several miles and are capable of destroying tanks and fortifications. They come in man-portable, vehicle mounted or air-launched versions.
January 4/17: The USMC has issued a $60 million contract to Raytheon for TOW missiles. Delivery of the missiles is expected to be completed by December 28, 2018. The weapons are designed to help ground forces engage armored targets like tanks and can also be mounted to land platforms such as the Styker and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
December 22/16: Raytheon has been awarded a $53 million foreign military sales contract to provide TOW missiles to Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The heavy assault weapon has been integrated on several land platforms by the US Army such as the Stryker, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and ITAS High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. Work on the deal is expected to be completed by October 2017.
December 12/16: Morocco has been cleared to purchase Raytheon-made TOW 2A Radio Frequency Missiles. Valued at $108 million, the sale includes 1,200 TOW 2A RF missiles and 14 TOW 2A fly-to-buy acceptance missiles. Morocco is regarded as a key US ally in maintaining stability in North Africa, following the increase in jihadist activity across the region.