Raytheon has conducted field testing of a new launch, boost, sustain (LBS) propulsion system, developed by Alliant Tech Systems (ATK), for its Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wireless (TOW) missile at an undisclosed location.
The developmental propulsion system doubled the missile's range and decreased its flight time by one-third during the testing, thereby helping the missile to travel more than 7km and reaching 4km in less time.
The LBS propulsion system features a rocket motor designed with Insensitive Munitions (IM) features to deliver additional safety when exposed to bullet and fragment impacts, external fire or other hazardous events.
Raytheon Missile Systems TOW programme director Scott Speet said the LBS technology enhances the missile gunner's survivability by allowing them to engage targets outside the threat range of direct engagement systems and by reducing the time required for target tracking.
The TOW is a long-range, precision anti-armour, anti-fortification and anti-amphibious landing missile designed to defeat explosive reactive armour, bunkers, fortifications and amphibious landing craft, particularly in complex urban environments.
With the multi-mission TOW 2A, TOW 2B, TOW 2B Aero and TOW Bunker Buster missiles, the weapon system is a command line-of-sight system that requires the gunner to track the target until the missile impacts.
Capable of firing from ground systems, vehicles or helicopters, the missile has been used by the US forces in every conflict since Vietnam war and is also currently used in Afghanistan.
The missile is integrated into the Army Stryker, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, ITAS High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle and Light Armoured Vehicle-Anti-tank and the US Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1W Cobra helicopters.
Fielded on more than 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms of 40 international armed forces, the missile is also the preferred heavy assault anti-armour weapon system for Nato, coalition, UN and peacekeeping operations worldwide.
Image: The TOW family of anti-armour missiles can be fired from ground systems, vehicles or helicopters.