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The TOW missiles Through the Decades

 
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 330
Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:59 am    Post subject: The TOW missiles Through the Decades Reply with quote




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Note> Photos below are thumbnails. Click to see full size.



The first TOW missiles of the 1970s. The bottom is the first model "Basic TOW" designated BGM-71A. It had a range of 3000 meters. The bottom one is the Improved TOW (ITOW) designated BGM-71C. The ITOW added a new warhead along with an extended probe that gives the proper standoff on impact. The motor burn time was increased to make up for the weight.


These nexts photos show the drastic upgrade done with the TOW-2 in the 1980s which gave the TOW the full diameter warhead of 157mm which drastically increased its lethalness against armor. The TOW-2 was designated BGM-71D. Also a new motor was installed which increased its range to 3750 meters.


First photos of the TOW-2 being tested at the US Army Redstone base at Huntsville, Alabama, USA. The bottom photos shows well the fins and probe being deployed as it cost away from the launcher (btw the first TOWs had some lethal accidents with the blip motor that burns fully in the tube. For what ever reason the pressure built up to fast and they exploded in the tube. Very big scandle and investigation by the US government on this subject.


When the US deployed the new Medium Brigades to Iraq which are centered around the 8X8 Stryker wheeled armored brigade the cannon version was way behind in development. To help fill that void the US Army had a so called "Bunker Buster" version developed with a special blast warhead based on the US Marines SMAW weapon. It has proven useful but has serious problems in urban warfare where electric and telephone wires are present. Canada has also adopted the TOW "Bunker Buster" for their LAV III vehicles.


Last edited by jackehammond on Mon May 01, 2006 9:49 am; edited 4 times in total
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 330
Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:28 am    Post subject: The Russian Reactive Armor Scare Reply with quote

In the mid 1980s various defense publications (eg the reputable Armed Forces Journal International) began reporting that the Russians had fitted the T-64 and T-72 main battle tank with reactive armor boxes. Then a shocked US Congress was told that with the exception of the French HOT and the US Hellfire it was doubtful that other NATO antitank missiles could defeat a Russian tank frontally fitted with reactive armor. To counter the reactive armor threat the US Army rushed in to production the TOW-2A designated BGM-71D. It had a probe which at the tip had a 40mm HEAT warhead that would predetonate reactive armor boxes so the main warhead could defeat the frontal armor. The TOW-2A saw combat in the 1991 Gulf War. Click thumbnails below for full size





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Above - TOW-2A


The US Army was also concerned that future improvements in armor might even defeat the TOW-2A and started a program to give the TOW top-attack ability. The results was the TOW-2B which combined two explosive formed projectile warheads that were canted inward that would detonate just over the top of the armored vehicle target. The fuse was developed by UK Thorn EMI. First use was by the US Marines in the 2003 Gulf War when an Iraqi tank was firing at a Marine column from the other side of a wide river. THe Marines engaged the tank while it was backed up and out of the line of sight. The tank would fire then back up to where it was not in the line of sight. The Marines nicknamed the top attack TOW-2B the "Sharpshooter".







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Above - TOW-2B



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Above - TOW-2B in test of warhead against an old M60 tank
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