The TOW - The first widespread SACLOS antitank missile




 
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June 30th, 2005  
jackehammond
 

Topic: The TOW - The first widespread SACLOS antitank missile


Folks,

According to who you talk to, it is either the US TOW or the Russian Sagger wire guided antitank missile that is the most numerous ever made. Personally I believe that the Sagger has that title.

TOW stands for "Tube-fired, Optical-tracked, Wire-guided. While the French had a optional package for their famous SS-11 (ie the one that made wire-guided antitank missiles popular) called Harpoon which greatly helped the gunner hit target where all he had to do was keep the cross-hairs on the target which today is called SACLOS (Semi-Automatic Command Line Of Sight) and is a great step over the older method where the gunner had to keep the target on his sights cross hairs and then with a joy stick line both the missile and target in the cross hairs (called CLOS for Command to Line of Sight), it was the TOW that was actually the first wide spread 2nd generation antitank missile that used SACLOS.

The TOW was developed in the late 1960s to replace the 106mm recoiless rifle. While the 106mm had the ability to defeat tanks and other armor its effective range was inadequate. The TOW enter operational service with the US military in the early 1970. The price of the first TOW missile because of the huge volume of production was $3,500.00 (Today it is around $10,000 per missile). In 1972 the TOW saw its first combat around An Loc, South Vietnam when the only two UH-1s that could fire TOW missiles was rushed to South Vietnam. The effect of those two TOW armed UH-1 was dramatic stopping the NVA armored thrust in its tracks. The US Army became and an immediate beliver in the TOW. Later the TOW ground launcher saw combat with the Israeli Army when some ground launchers were rushed to Israel when both the Egyptian and Syrians were almost overwhelming the Israeli armored forces (ie this was only revealed about 10 years ago and reports were it was mounted on Israeli half tracks).

Finally, I have a huge library of the TOW. My first article was a report on the jeep mounted TOW with the Indiana National Guard which was put on display at Ft Harrison, Indiana in 1978. I am going to try and post those photos I can. To keep from using much space I am posting the jpegs at 25%. I would appreciate it if the member who was with a US Army TOW unit to post some comments so I can post a reply with more photos and avoid a back to back reply.

Jack E. Hammond





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Illustration of the major componets of the first TOW


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Drawing of the ITOW. This add a popou stand-off probe that dramatically improved penetration


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Firing of early TOW missile by a USMC unit on Okinawa. Date unknown. Note the guidance wires spooling out. The early TOW had a range of 3750 meters. I once asked Hughes Missile why they just didn't fit the TOW with a motor that would make the range an even 4,000 meters. He stated the motor could could boost the TOW enough for 4,000 meters. The problem was putting enough wires in the TOW. He stated that was magic of the TOW that Hughes Missile worked very hard on.


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Great photo of a TOW and its gunner in Germany. Shows the guidance unit and the sight the gunner uses and the one that collects and tracks the TOW after launch


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TOW in a ground position. 25 Division, 5th Regiment, 1 Bn in Hawaii 15 June 1976. One of the earliest photos of the TOW showed a much longer "barrel" on the launcher. I asked about it and was told that the launcher and guidance sighting unit are locked. And they discovered that one windy days when using the TOW against targets at its maximum days the wind could move the barrel slightly throwing off the missile in flight and missing the target. So the "barrel" was cut back.


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Tow Ground Launcher


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Another view of TOW ground launcher


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TOW ground launcher being loaded


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The first TOWs were fitted to Jeeps and the M113 for mobility. But the US Army recongnized that anti-TOW tactics would air burst artillery, etc against the expoded gunner. Emerson Electric won a contract for a two round turret that elevated to give a better field of fire and downloaded the TOW sight information to the gunner inside the armored hull. The US Army mounted this TOW UNDER ARMOR SYSTEM on the M113. Other nations bought the Emerson TOW turret and mounted it on their armored vehicles. Photo shows the Emerson turret on a Netherland's Army Armored Fighting Vehicle (ie improved M113)


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A photo you don't see today. This is the General Dynamics and Chrysler candidate for a replacement for the Jeep which was won by the AM Hummer. Shows it fitted with a TOW turret.


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TOW launcher fitted to a RAMATA light armored vehicle
June 30th, 2005  
jackehammond
 

Topic: Can you see the photos


Folks,

I hate to do a back to back, but are you able to see the photos when the first message to this thread is opened? There should be eleven photos. They are all small size jpegs so I don't think it is over burdening the system and I saw all of them after I posted the message. And I checked and log on to my GeoCities account and then logged out to make sure it was just not me who could see them. But now I can see none of them?

Jack E. H ammond
July 1st, 2005  
Arclight
 
I see them. 8) Good post by the way.
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July 1st, 2005  
ghost457
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arclight
I see them. 8) Good post by the way.
same here, very informative post, great job. im guessing you know a lot about the various TOW missiles?
July 1st, 2005  
FO Seaman
 
 
Not to pick this apart Jack, but I noticed you don't have any M2A2 photos.
July 1st, 2005  
jackehammond
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadet Seaman
Not to pick this apart Jack, but I noticed you don't have any M2A2 photos.
Dear Member,

These were photos I had found in a folder that I had never filed that went with an article but not used. The main reason being that the the publication was more interested in the modern TOW. I have more "some place" -- ie I have a very modern filing system: Touch and Find.

Last, I goofed in my orginal message. It is supposed to be "tube launched" and not "tube fired".

Jack E. Hammond

NOTE> It is according to when you view the photos whether you see them all or not. Later in the day GeoCities limits bandwidth. I have found another hosting service and hope to bypass the bandwith restriction.
August 12th, 2005  
specialasiankid
 
interesting
August 12th, 2005  
DTop
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackehammond
I would appreciate it if the member who was with a US Army TOW unit to post some comments so I can post a reply with more photos and avoid a back to back reply.

Dear Jackehammond,

Are you looking for input from me? I was the First Sergeant of a TOW company in the Army and I was also the PSG of a 106mm Recoiless Rifle platoon before that. I have trained many TOW gun crews in my day. What can I do for you sir?

DTop
August 16th, 2005  
jackehammond
 
Dear Members,

Below is the webpage you can go to where I posted the rest of the photos on the TOW system (ie my files cover to 1992) and where another member provided more recent photos of the TOW (eg the top-attack version).

Finally, Raytheon the company that bought Hughes Missile (and they also bought Texas Instruments who R&D and produced the Javelin) is now working on a private project to develop a wireless TOW that uses an unjammable radio guidance system. Full circle folks. The Russians orginally developed their first antitank missile with RF guidance and then switched to wire guidances.

Jack E. Hammond

http://forums.military.com/groupee/f.../7840008500001
August 16th, 2005  
FO Seaman
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackehammond
Dear Members,

Below is the webpage you can go to where I posted the rest of the photos on the TOW system (ie my files cover to 1992) and where another member provided more recent photos of the TOW (eg the top-attack version).

Finally, Raytheon the company that bought Hughes Missile (and they also bought Texas Instruments who R&D and produced the Javelin) is now working on a private project to develop a wireless TOW that uses an unjammable radio guidance system. Full circle folks. The Russians orginally developed their first antitank missile with RF guidance and then switched to wire guidances.

Jack E. Hammond

http://forums.military.com/groupee/f.../7840008500001
Ya my father worked with Raytheon for a few months when he worked for the NGB, he now works with Raydon.