Anti-Tank Missiles: TOW
A Marine of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC) Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment mans a HMMWV mounted M-220 TOW missile launcher during the Combined Arms Landing Force Exercise (CALFEX) of Cobra Gold 2002, Utapao, Thailand, 27 May 2002.
M-220 Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided missile (TOW)
The TOW anti-tank missile was introduced for service in the U.S. Army in 1970. During the Vietnam War, in May 1972, soldiers used the TOW in combat, the first time that American troops had ever fired an American-made missile in combat. It has since been used in Iraq and other recent conflicts.
HMMWV anti-tank platform with TOW mounted at roof hatch.
The TOW is the most widely distributed anti-tank guided missile in the world. It can be fired from a tripod but due to its weight it is usually mounted on a ground or air platform vehicle which have included the M274 Mule, HMMWV, M151 jeep, M113 armored personnel carriers, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, AH-1 Huey Cobra helicopters, and others. The improved TOW II has a larger warhead and motor. Other variants are the TOW IIA which has a tandem charge warhead for defeating reactive armor and TOW IIB that uses a top-attack flight profile. Six missiles have been used with TOW, optimized for different missions.
The TOW II weighs 205 pounds, including its tripod mount. The missile itself weighs 48 pounds while the launcher weighs 52.8 pounds. The TOW II range is from 65 to 3750 meters.
Additional TOW Missile Photos are available in the Olive-Drab.com Gallery.
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