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US and Jordanian soldiers train together using TOW BGM-71 anti-tank missile system

U.S. Army Soldiers with Charlie Company,1st Combined Arms Battalion, 252 Armor Regiment (1-252 AR), 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) in collaboration with Military Engagement Team-Jordan (MET-J), conducted a two-week Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) on the BGM-71 Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wireless-guided (TOW) Weapon System with the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) at a base outside of Amman, Jordan in December 2019.

US and Jordanian soldiers train together using TOW BGM 71 anti tank missile system 925 001
A Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) Soldier looks through the scope of a BGM-71 Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wireless-guided Weapon System during a Subject Matter Expert Exchange with U.S. Army Soldiers, December 2019. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

The TOW weapon system, originally developed by the Hughes Aircraft Company in the 1960s, is a heavy anti-tank guided missile that currently falls under the Raytheon brand. The weapon system is known for its effective destruction of tanks and can fire from varying platforms including high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles and helicopters.

According to the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) arms trade database, the United States has provided 300 BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles to Jordan Armed Forces from 2016 to 2018.

The multimission TOW 2A, TOW 2B, TOW 2B Aero, and TOW bunker-buster missile is one of the primary precision anti-armor, anti-fortification, and anti-amphibious landing weapons used throughout the world today according to Raytheon.

TOW missiles can be fired from all TOW launchers, including the Improved Target Acquisition Systems (ITAS), Stryker anti-tank guided missile vehicle (modified ITAS), and Bradley Fighting Vehicles (Improved Bradley Acquisition Subsystem).

TOW launchers can be mounted to a wide variety of vehicles, including the Humvee, and also can be placed in improvised ground fortifications for front-line infantry use. Versions of the TOW missile also can be fired from Light Armored Vehicle–Anti-tank and U.S. Marine Corps AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter.

To fire the TOW missile, the operator uses an optical missile sight attached to the launcher. The sight is data linked to the missile. Wireless TOW missiles include an RF transmitter added to the missile case and an RF receiver located inside the missile.


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