Army wants industry input on TOW replacement

By Ethan Sterenfeld / June 23, 2022 at 2:09 PM

The Army wants to hear what replacement options for the Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided antitank missile contractors could demonstrate as early as the third quarter of fiscal year 2024, according to a June 21 request for information.

A “U.S. government sponsored capability demonstration” could be held between that quarter and the third quarter of FY-25, according to the request.

Interested companies can also detail in their responses which of the service’s desired characteristics could be included in the TOW replacement, the Close Combat Missile System-Heavy.

Bradley Fighting Vehicles, an antitank Stryker variant and some humvees fire the TOW, which is larger than the Javelin that is mounted on other Strykers and has been sent to Ukraine in large numbers.

Requirements for the TOW replacement’s survivability, sustainment, lethality and form factor will not be negotiable, according to the request. The replacement must fit within the legacy TOW launcher, and it cannot weigh more than the legacy missile.

But other characteristics, including range, guidance and target recognition, will be “tradeable,” according to the request. The Army will lay out its desired specifications, but it will acknowledge that there might not be a missile that can check every box.

The missile should have a direct fire range of at least 4.5 kilometers, and a “cooperative engagement enabled range” of 8 km, according to the request. Its minimum range should be 65 meters.

An Army requirements writer said last year that the service wanted a TOW replacement to have a range greater than 10 km.

The House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee noted in its mark of a draft defense policy bill that the Army appears to have two simultaneous TOW replacement programs. The subcommittee asked whether TOW launchers could support future short-range air defense or counter-drone weapons.

Technical responses to the request for information can be up to 50 pages long, with another 50 pages available for detailed test data. Responses are due July 29.