The US Government has signed an agreement with an undisclosed international customer for delivery of the BGM-71 tube-launched, optically tracked wireless-guided weapon (TOW) system.
Expected to be awarded to Raytheon in the coming weeks, the $750m foreign military sale (FMS) will cover delivery of approximately 14,000 TOW missiles to the customer over a three-year period.
The agreement is expected to enable the company to further enhance TOW’s capability, while delivering affordable precision to a vital US ally for the defence of its borders and sovereignty.
In addition, the multi-year FMS arrangement could reduce acquisition costs for the US Government, while providing economies of scale.
The BGM-71 TOW is a long-range anti-tank missile designed to defeat explosive reactive armour, bunkers, fortifications and amphibious landing craft, particularly in complex urban environments.
Featuring multi-mission TOW 2A, TOW 2B, TOW 2B Aero and TOW bunker-buster missile variants, the weapon is a command line-of-sight system requiring the user to track the target until the missile hits.
It can be launched from a range of ground systems, vehicles or helicopters, and is mounted onto the US Army’s Stryker, Bradley M2/M3 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), improved target acquisition systems (ITAS) high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWV), light armoured vehicle-anti-tanks, and the AH-1 Cobra helicopters.
Extensively used by US forces in every conflict since the Vietnam War, the missile is also the preferred heavy-assault anti-armour weapon system for Nato and UN peacekeeping operations worldwide.
Deliveries under the contract are scheduled to start in 2015.
Image: A TOW missile being fired from a US Army’s Stryker vehicle through Fort Polk’s, Joint Readiness Training Center, US. Photo: courtesy of Victor J. Ayala.