Army describes characteristics for TOW replacement

By Ethan Sterenfeld / April 20, 2021 at 1:07 PM

The Army wants the replacement for the Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) anti-tank missile to have increased range and capability while maintaining the same form, so that it can work with existing TOW launchers, a service official said at an April 7 industry day.

"We'd love to get it out to ranges greater than 10 kilometers, if possible," said Mark Andrews, chief of the Close Capabilities Branch within the Maneuver Requirements Division. Andrews spoke at an industry day panel hosted by the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate.

In addition to the extra range, the Army would like greater capabilities for targets that are close to the launcher, Andrews said. He said it would ideally be armed within 100 meters of being fired.

Under the missile's primary requirements, it should use both command-line-of-sight as well as fire-and-forget guidance, maneuver to reach defiladed targets, communicate with off-platform sensors and defeat active protection systems, according to a slide that accompanied Andrews' presentation.

Secondary requirements included shoot-on-the-move capability, reduced time of flight, operation in GPS degraded environments and a 3,000-foot maximum height above ground during flight, according to the same slide.

The new missile would be fired from the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, TOW-dedicated humvees and future combat vehicles, Andrews said.

Old versions of the TOW missile were guided by trailing wires connecting the missile to the launcher after they were fired, although current versions have eliminated the wire. The system was first introduced in the early 1970s.