ITAS (improved target acquisition system) was originally designed to provide an advanced fire control system for the TOW anti-armor missile, significantly increasing target detection, acquisition, recognition and engagement ranges. It also offers upgraded hardware for a 30-year old system, as electronics have a rapid turnover cycle and some of its parts were no longer in production. An October 4, 2006 Raytheon release notes that the new 5-year contract continues Army procurement of the systems, and marks the start of U.S. Marine Corps ITAS acquisition.
This DID Spotlight Article provides more information about TOW-ITAS and its uses in battle, which have broadened beyond missile guidance to some roles its designers hadn’t expected. Production resumed in 2005, and the program picked up a 2007 award from the US DoD.
The TOW Improved Target Acquisition System
ITAS uses a thermal imager based on a Standard Advanced Dewar Assembly (SADA II) focal plane array, eyesafe laser rangefinder, and a gunner-aided target tracker. This improves the target recognition range, performance and the hit probability. The advanced digital fire control computer provides missile tracking, target tracking, embedded training and even growth capability as demonstrated by the 2002 firing of a Javelin missile using this system.
The TOW ITAS can also be used as a reconnaissance aid. During one National Training Center (NTC) rotation, 82d Airborne Division soldiers could see movement beyond 10 kilometers, distinguish between tracked and wheeled vehicles at 8 kilometers, and identify vehicle types and dismounts at 5 kilometers using their ITAS sights. The 82nd Airborne’s brigade combat team (BCT) commander used this capability to determine the disposition and intent of his opposing force. Soldiers have also been able to acquire targets in thick vegetation such as that at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), and again determine the opposing force’s intent and set the tone of the battle to come. The acid test came during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where ITAS has been used to similar effect in urban warfare.
According to Raytheon, planned product improvements in 2006 included Far Target Location capability, which automatically determines target location and shows the troops’ location to give complete situational awareness. Incorporation of a network radio would allow transmission of this information to other networked systems on the battlefield.
Contracts and Key Events
FY 2011 – Present
Unless otherwise noted, all contracts below are issued by U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL to Raytheon Co. in McKinney, TX.
Feb 5/14: Saudi Arabia. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives a $16.3 million firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract for 22 modified improved target acquisition systems for the Royal Saudi Land Forces SWORD program, and 3 for the Saudi Arabian National Guard. A seemingly-related FBO.gov solicitation describes SWORD as:
” WITHIN THE FMS CASE, ON LINE ITEM 012 NOTE 36, SWORD DIRECTED THE PURCHASE OF LIGHT ARMORED VEHICLE-ANTI TANK (MOD) (LAV-AT(M)) WITH THE MITAS.”
LAV-ATs use under-armor TOW missiles, and improving them with ITAS modified for those vehicles delivers a lot of bang for the buck. Bids were solicited via the Web, with 1 received. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, and the estimated completion date is June 30/15. Work will be managed by US Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI as the Saudis’ agent (W56HZV-14-C-0066).
July 15/13: 3rd Gen Upgrade. Raytheon announces that its new 3rd Gen FLIR ITAS and fire control has successfully achieved proof of concept in a series of laboratory and field tests, which included firing all versions of the TOW missile. The goal is better clarity at all ranges, which means effectiveness at greater stand-off ranges.
The demonstration was conducted in the presence of program office personnel from the U.S. Army’s Close Combat Weapons Systems and Army Aviation and Missile Research and Development Engineering Center. Raytheon.
Jan 7/13: A $10.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The award will modify an existing contract to buy services for the TOW-ITAS system. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of Dec 5/13. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-07-C-0088).
FY 2005 – 2010
Oct 15/09: Upgrades. A $21.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for target locator retrofit parts, in order to upgrade the existing ITAS systems to the latest configuration.
Work is to be performed in McKinney, TX with an estimated completion date of Oct 31/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q06-C-0490).
March 26/08: FY 2008 – 2010. A firm fixed price contract for $203.2 million, exercising Improved Target Acquisition System production options through FY 2010. All work will be performed at McKinney, Texas with an estimated completion date of Oct 31/12 (W31P4Q06-C-0490). See also Raytheon’s May 5/08 release.
Sept 28/07: Recognition. Raytheon announces that their ITAS partnership for Contractor Logistics Support has received a 2007 Secretary of Defense Performance Based Logistics (Sub-System Level) Award. Against an availability requirement of 90%, the Raytheon ITAS CLS team achieved an average operational readiness rate of 99.7% for the Army’s 782 ITAS systems. That performance, along with significant improvement in repair times, has resulted in an estimated cost savings of nearly $300 million for the Army.
Raytheon Network Centric Systems is in the first year of a 10-year, firm-fixed- price contract to provide performance based logistics and mission support for this Army and Marine Corps tactical system. The contract requires Raytheon to provide worldwide logistics support to Army and Marine Corps operations at garrison locations, training centers, and in combat operations around the world. The ITAS CLS program is managed out of Raytheon’s McKinney, TX facility with field service representatives located around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Feb 22/07: Support. Raytheon’s McKinney, TX facility announces initial contract funding of $11.7 million from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Systems Command in Huntsville, AL, as the first payment in a 10-year, $300 million firm-fixed-price performance-based contract for ITAS contractor logistics support.
The contract continues contractor logistics support for the US Army, and marks the start for the Marine Corps. Raytheon Network Centric Systems (NCS) will provide worldwide logistics support to the Army and Marine Corps at garrison locations, training centers, and in combat operations including Iraq & Afghanistan. It also includes performance-based financial incentives that require Raytheon to maintain system operational readiness rates at or above 90%. See Raytheon release.
10-year support deal
Jan 16/07: Support. An $11.7 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide services for the TOW-ITAS system. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/11. This was a sole source contract initiated on Aug 18/06. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-07-C-0088).
Nov 27/06: FY 2007. A $161.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for production of the improved target acquisition system (ITAS). Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and is expected to be complete by Oct 31/12. This order is the FY 2007 option, and includes ITAS systems for the Marines and the Army (W31P4Q-06-C-0490). See also Dec 4/06 Raytheon release.
Sept 14/06: A $285.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for production of the improved target acquisition system (ITAS). This is the first order announced under a new 5-year contract that continues Army procurement of ITAS, and marks the start of ITAS acquisition for the U.S. Marine Corps. The contract provides options for the Army to purchase additional ITAS systems, and is valued at more than $500 million.
This sole source contract was initiated on Dec 22/05, but it took a while to negotiate and sign. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and is expected to be complete by Oct 31/12 (W31P4Q-06-C-0490). See also Raytheon release.
April 21/05: Production. Raytheon gets a $32.3 million contract from the US Army to resume TOW-ITAS production, in light of the missiles performance and value during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Army bought 709 ITAS units from 199 – 2003. The war in Iraq and the Army’s Modularity Initiative drove the decision to reinstate ITAS as an Infantry Brigade Combat Team component. In 2004, Congress approved the Army’s request for emergency funding to sustain the production line, and additional funds are included in the FY 2005 supplemental request. Raytheon.
Back in production
Additional Readings & Sources
* US Army PEO STRI, Project Manager Training Devices – Improved Target Aquisition Site (ITAS)
* Raytheon – TOW Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS)
* Army Technology – TOW 2 Heavy Anti-Tank Missile, USA
* Canadian Forces, Lord Strathcona Horse (June 2006) – E COY LdSH(RC) Puts the LAV TUA to the Test. A good update on Canada’s tests of the TOW-ITAS as part of its TOW-firing LAVs.
* Preventitive Maintenance Monthly (September 2003) – PM for your new ITAS – Improved Target Acquisition System maintenance. Some fine suggestions.
* Raytheon Release (Dec 16/02) – Raytheon Improved Target Acquisition System fires Javelin missile
* Infantry Magazine (Spring 2002) – M41 TOW improved target acquisition system – ITAS – Professional Forum
* DSCA via CASR (Oct 4/01) – TOW 2B Improved Target Acquisition System Components US Foreign Military Sale Notice: Proposed Sale to Canada. Included 75 ITAS systems that were incorporated into Canada’s TUA (TOW Under Armor) LAVs.