In a strategic move to fortify its anti-armor capabilities and augment its military platforms, the United States Army recently awarded Raytheon a hefty sum to procure the state-of-the-art missile.

Clinching a Multimillion-Dollar Contract

On August 15, defense technology giant Raytheon received a substantial $323-million contract to manufacture tube-launched, optically-tracked, wireless-guided (TOW) 2B top-attack missiles. These sophisticated missiles are set to bolster the Army’s anti-armor, anti-bunker, anti-fortification, and anti-amphibious landing capabilities, reaffirming the military’s commitment to staying at the forefront of cutting-edge weaponry.

With anticipated delivery by September 2026, the TOW 2B missile is poised to join the ranks of advanced military weaponry, shaping the future of modern warfare preparedness.

Meeting Diverse Mission Objectives

The TOW 2B missiles are designed to excel in a wide range of combat scenarios, making them a versatile asset for the US Army. These missiles will be incorporated into various military armored platforms, including the High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled (HMMWV), Stryker, and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Their adaptability will enable the US Army to effectively neutralize armored targets, fortified positions, bunkers, and even threats posed by amphibious landings, enhancing the military’s operational flexibility and responsiveness.

Cutting-Edge Technology and Operational Mechanism

At the heart of the TOW 2B missile’s effectiveness lies its advanced technology and innovative design. Utilizing a one-way radio frequency connection between the launcher and the missile, operators gain precise control over the missile’s trajectory. Enhanced target detection and accuracy are achieved through a telescopic sight, enabling operators to identify and strike targets with unprecedented precision.

The TOW 2B missile features a distinctive dual-warhead configuration, with one warhead detonating vertically and the other slightly offset to maximize the chances of a successful hit. This ingenious design significantly improves the missile’s hit probability, boosting its effectiveness against heavily armored targets. Furthermore, the 2B variant introduces a “flyover shoot down” top-attack mode, enabling the missile to exploit the vulnerabilities of targets from above. This approach, combined with the Thales dual-mode target sensor—a sophisticated system incorporating a laser profilometer and a magnetic sensor—empowers the missile to strike targets at their weakest points.

Live-fire TOW 2B exercise
A TOW 2B missile live-fire exercise in 2014 (Image source: DVIDS)

Global Reach and Proven Performance

The TOW anti-tank missile is a recognized force on the global stage, serving in the arsenal of over 40 armed forces worldwide. Its adaptability, precision, and proven combat effectiveness have made it a favored choice among militaries seeking to equip their ground troops with a dependable anti-tank solution.

The TOW missile’s various iterations, including the TOW 2A, TOW 2B, and TOW Bunker Buster, can be launched from a variety of TOW weapon system launchers. These launchers include the ITAS™ launcher, the Stryker anti-tank guided missile vehicle with a modified ITAS launcher, and the Bradley Fighting Vehicles utilizing the improved Bradley Acquisition Subsystem. This flexibility ensures that the TOW missile can be seamlessly integrated into a wide array of military platforms, optimizing its impact across different mission profiles.

Elevating US Military Power

Raytheon’s achievement in securing the contract underscores the US Army’s commitment to enhancing its military capabilities and maintaining a position of strength on the global stage. With extended-range capabilities, the TOW missile system is ideally suited for the US Army’s Stryker, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, ITAS High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, and Light Armored Vehicle-Anti-tank platforms. Rigorous US Army qualification tests have validated the TOW missile’s top-down attack capabilities, highlighting its operational effectiveness in modern combat scenarios.

The ongoing advancements and upgrades in the TOW missile system are indicative of Raytheon’s dedication to continually improving its performance and extending its operational lifespan. These innovations have positioned the TOW missile as a reliable and enduring component of the US Army’s arsenal, projected to remain in service well beyond 2050.

TOW Missile Range
Paratroopers conducting a TOW missile range test in 2022 (Image source: DVIDS)

Conclusion: A New Era Dawns in Military Capabilities

Raytheon’s clinching of the $323-million contract to manufacture TOW 2B missiles for the US Army marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of cutting-edge military technology during a time when military prowess is defined by groundbreaking innovation. These advanced missiles will undoubtedly play a crucial role in bolstering the US Army’s anti-armor capabilities and providing a versatile solution for a wide range of combat scenarios. As the US military landscape evolves, the TOW missile system stands as a testament to the commitment of defense industry leaders to equip our armed forces with the tools needed to maintain security and a strategic advantage.