TOW Anti-Tank Missile
3 feet, 10 inches
The TOW missile (Tube-launched, Optically Tracked, Wire Command missile) is the primary anti-tank weapon used by the infantry. It is mounted on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Humvee, AH-1S Cobra Helicopter along with a ground-launched version. The TOW is guided to its target merely by the gunner keeping the cross-hairs on the target. Corrective information is sent to the missile by two thin wires that deploy in flight. Several advanced versions exist including a thermal night sight and an improved warhead variant.
Iraqi forces use a wide variety of anti-tank systems bought on the international arms market. Although not as technologically advanced as the TOW, these weapons have proved effective in many wars around the Third World. One such example is the shoulder-launched RPG-7, which is in service virtually everywhere in the world where there is warfare. The PG-7 launches an 85mm grenade about 540 yards and can penetrate light armor. The Iraqis also field the Soviet-made SPG-9, which has twice the range of the RPG-7 and is launched from a tripod mount. Iraq has also purchased and used the MILAN antitank, wire-guided
missile. Made in France, the weapon has a range of about 1.2 miles and was used extensively in Iraq's eight year war with Iran.
Actions in Desert Storm--
The TOW was plagued by problems when it first arrived in the Gulf, many of them due to the climatic conditions in the desert. After some adjustments, TOWs were successfully used in the invasion against Iraqi tanks and vehicles without the predicted casualties amongst the users given the vulnerability of the operator. In the battle over the Saudi town of Khafji, coalition forces used TOWs with a great deal of success against Iraqi tanks. Arab forces advancing along the coast during the ground war reported great success with the TOW against Iraqi armor.
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