Tube launched Optically tracked Wire guided missile system
The Tube launched Optically tracked Wire guided (TOW) missile system is the primary long range anti-tank weapon for the army. Although normally vehicle mounted it can be carried short distances by the weapon crew. When mounted in a vehicle, the system consists of the launcher, sight unit, missile guidance set and the TOW encased missiles. The addition of the tripod and traverse and elevation units allows the system to be removed from the vehicle and operated from a remote location by the weapon crew. Three vehicles can currently mount the TOW missile system: the Iltis, the BV 206 (TOW variant – BV2063) and the M113A2 TWO Under Armour (TUA). The TUA allows the TOW to be fired while the operator is protected by the armour of the turret. The TUA turrets will be transferred to the LAV III by 2005. A total of 71 LAV TUA are being procured.
The TOW has a Thermal Image capability that allows the gunner to see through total darkness, rain, fog and smoke.
The TOW system is fairly simple to operate and only requires that the gunner place keep the crosshairs of his sight on the target to ensure a hit. This is a great improvement over the earlier missile systems that required the gunner to fly the missile using a joystick.
The Canadian Army has two different missiles in its inventory. The TOW 2A features a tandem high explosive charge warheads that can penetrate almost a full metre of steel in addition to any explosive reactive armour protection on the target. The TOW 2B missile flies over the target and fires two explosively formed penetrators down through the thinly protected top. This allows the 2B missiles to be used against targets hiding in depressions in the ground or behind walls.
- Missiles: TOW 2A and 2B
- Propulsion: 2 stage, solid propellant rocket motor
- Penetration: TOW 2A ERA + 1 metre of armour
- Rate of fire: 2 rounds per minute
- Length: 1.32m (missile in case)
- Maximum Range: 3750 metres
- Crew: 4, gunner, loader, commander, driver
- Entered Service: 1976