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Table of



Lesson 1




Lesson Description:

In this lesson, you will learn to identify the characteristics of the following current US Army antitank weapons: the Light Antitank Weapon (LAW); the Dragon Medium Antitank/Assault Weapon; and the Launcher Cartridge 84-MM, M136 (AT4), HEAT. In addition, you will learn to identify the characteristics of TOW/TOW 2 mounts and carriers and TOW/TOW 2 missile types and markings.

Terminal Learning Objective:

Action: Identify the characteristics and components of the following current U. S. Army antitank weapons: Light Antitank Weapon (LAW); Dragon Medium Antitank/Assault Weapon; and the Launcher Cartridge 84-MM, M136 (AT4), HEAT. In addition, identify the characteristics of TOW/TOW 2 mounts and carriers and TOW/TOW 2 missile types and markings.
Condition: Given the subcourse material contained in this lesson.
Standard: Identify the characteristics of the Light Antitank Weapon (LAW); the Dragon Medium Antitank/Assault Weapon; and the Launcher Cartridge 84-MM, M136 (AT4), HEAT; and TOW/TOW 2 mounts and carriers and TOW/TOW 2 missile types and markings.

The material contained in this lesson was derived from the following publications:

FM 23-24
FM 23-25
FM 23-33
FM 23-34
FM 1-402


The United States Army has a number of antiarmor weapons to use against the armored personnel carriers (wheeled and tracked) and tanks (as well as bunkers and other fortifications) of opposing forces. These antiarmor weapons include the light antitank weapon (LAW); the Dragon Medium Antitank/Assault Weapon; and the Launcher and Cartridge 84-MM, M136 (AT4), HEAT. In addition, the TOW Weapon System is used to engage enemy armor. This lesson will teach you to identify the characteristics of the LAW, the Dragon, and the AT4 as well as the characteristics of TOW/TOW 2 mounts and carriers and TOW/TOW 2 missile types and markings.

PART A - antiarmor WEAPONS

1. M72A2 Light Antitank Weapon (LAW).

The following paragraphs discuss the characteristics of the M72A2 Light Antitank Weapon (LAW).

a. Background. The LAW (shown in Figure 1-1) is a lightweight, self-contained antitank weapon consisting of a rocket packed in a launcher. The launcher serves as a watertight packing container for the rocket and houses a percussion-type firing mechanism to activate the rocket.

The launcher must be extended to the open position, as shown in Figure 1-2, for firing. The rocket is fixed inside the launcher and attached to it by the igniter.

The rocket (shown in Figure 1-3) is a percussion-ignited, fin-stabilized, fixed munition.

The M72A2 rocket has a greater armor penetrating capability than the M72A1 rocket.

The LAW is used as ammunition rather than as an individual weapon. It is carried and employed by the soldier in addition to his basic weapon. Basic loads of LAW are assigned to units. Individuals assigned to units authorized a basic load of LAW should be trained in its use. LAW supplements other organic antitank weapons. It provides the primary means of antitank protection for the rifle squad and other units or installations which do not have organic antitank weapons. It may be used in the offense by assault elements or in the defense by any combat or other element of the Army.

b. Offensive Capabilities. In the attack, the LAW should be readily available to influence the action where necessary. Due to its relatively short range, the LAW should be spread throughout the maneuver element. The LAW is employed primarily against the armored vehicle. It may also be used against:

  • Light vehicles.

  • Bunkers.

  • Pillboxes.

  • Other crew-served weapon positions..

The LAW's light weight and size make it the ideal weapon for armor-killer operations, ranger operations, and special forces missions.

The night vision sight (AN/PVS-4) (when available) can be attached to the LAW for operation during periods of reduced visibility or darkness.

c. Defensive Capabilities. LAWs should be positioned laterally and in depth to cover the most likely avenues of armored approach. Lateral dispersion is necessary to increase the probability of obtaining oblique fire on enemy armor approaching the defensive position. Due to its one-shot capability, more than one LAW should normally be assigned to troops designated to fire it. Since all riflemen may be given a LAW, consideration must be given to the backblast when siting and constructing fighting positions.

The LAW can be effectively employed at night by using artificial illumination. The 40-mm illumination round is good for LAW engagements. Illumination should be placed above and slightly beyond the target. Night firing is an essential part of LAW marksmanship training.

2. Launcher and Cartridge 84-MM, M136 (AT4), HEAT.

This paragraph discusses the characteristics of the launcher and cartridge, 84-mm, M136 (AT4), HEAT, or AT4.

a. Characteristics. The AT4 is a lightweight, self-contained antiarmor weapon. It consists of a free-flight, fin-stabilized cartridge packed in an expendable launcher. It is man-portable and fired from the right shoulder only. It is issued as a round of ammunition and requires minimal operator maintenance. The launcher (shown in Figure 1-4) serves as a watertight packing container for transportation and storage.

b. Use. In addition to your weapon, you carry and use the AT4. It supplements other organic antiarmor weapons. It provides antiarmor capability for the rifle squad and other units or installations that do not have organic antiarmor weapons. The AT4 can be used in offenses by assault and support elements or in defenses by any element of the US Army.

c. Training Program. The recommended training program should be used by units to maintain the soldier's proficiency with the AT4.

d. Employment. The AT4 is mainly used against armored personnel carriers (APCs). However, it can be used against battle tanks when it is fired at the flanks or the rear. It can also be used as an assault weapon against bunkers, field fortifications, and other hard-point positions.

e. Environments. The AT4 is designed to withstand arctic, tropic, and desert conditions. It can withstand any combination of natural environments.

f. Visibility. The AT4 can be used during limited visibility. Target engagement, however, is limited by your ability, as the firer, to visually detect and identify the target and determine the range to the target.

g. Technical Data and Nomenclature. The following paragraphs list technical data concerning the AT4 system.

(1) Technical Data. These are the technical data regarding the AT4:

  • Weight = 6.7 kilograms (14.8 pounds) (overall system); 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds) (cartridge)

  • Caliber = 84 millimeters

  • Length = 1,020 millimeters (40 inches)

  • Muzzle velocity = 290 miles per hour (mph) (950 feet per second (fps))

  • Operating Temperature Range = -40 degrees C to 60 degrees C (40 degrees F to 140 degrees F)

  • Range = 2,100 meters (6,890 feet) (maximum)

    • Maximum effective range = 300 meters (985 feet)

    • Minimum arming range = 10 meters (33 feet)

    • Minimum target engagement range (training) = 30 meters (99 feet)

(2) Nomenclature. The nomenclature for the common names of the AT4 components are:

Common Name Nomenclature
Tracer trainer M287 9-mm tracer bullet training device
Forward safety Safety lever
Trainer body assembly Barrel assembly
Face and shoulder pad Recoil pad
Front and rear sight covers Protective housings
Lanyard Chain assembly
Cartridge M939 9-mm tracer cartridge

h. Ammunition. The AT4 is issued as a round of ammunition. The cartridge consists of the following parts:

  • Fin assembly with a tracer element.

  • Point-initiating, base-detonating, piezo-electric fuze.

  • Warhead body with liner.

  • Precision-shaped explosive charge (it is the only tactical ammunition for the AT4). The HEAT cartridge is shown in Figure 1-5..

The AT4 is used mainly as an antiarmor weapon. However, it can be used against gun emplacements and bunkers.

i. Technical Data. The following technical data pertain to the tactical cartridge:

  • Length = 460 millimeters (18 inches).

  • Caliber = 84 millimeters.

  • Warhead = HEAT (precision-shaped charge).

  • Fuze = piezoelectric crystal.

j. Packaging. Five AT4s are packed in a wood container. Each AT4 is further protected by a plastic barrier bag. A pallet load must not be stacked higher than four containers per pallet because of weight stress on the containers.

Each wood container is checked for serial numbers for the individual launchers and classification (shown in Figure 1-6). The container is checked for damage. If it is damaged or punctured, the proper authority is notified.

k. Launcher Color-Code Band. The launcher color-code band is between the front and the rear sights (shown in Figure 1-7).

The color codes are:

  • Black--with yellow band = high-explosive, antiarmor.

  • Gold--field handling trainer.

NOTE: The M287 9-mm tracer bullet training device (TBT) has no color-code band.

l. Service Upon Receipt. Upon receipt of the wood container, open the container. Remove the plastic barrier bag from each of the five AT4s. Perform serviceability checks.

m. Weapon Capabilities. The AT4 has greater penetrating power and after-armor effect than previous light antiarmor weapons. The use of the AT4 is not limited to armored vehicles. It is effective against bunkers and field fortifications.

n. Target Vulnerability. An armored vehicle usually has its heaviest armor on the front slopes. By comparison, the top, rear, flanks, and bottom have much less armor protection. The weak points of armor for the T62, the Soviet fighting vehicle (BMP), and the BRDM are shown in Figure 1-8. Firers should try to engage an armored vehicle from the flank or the rear. The flank offers the largest possible target area for target engagement. Firers should always try to get a center-of-mass hit.

Armored vehicles can be disabled in three ways:

  • Mobility Kill. The vehicle has stopped moving because a track or a road wheel has been blown off or the vehicle has been hit in the engine compartment. The vehicle is no longer mobile, but it can still return fire.

  • Firepower Kill. The main gun cannot return fire because it has been hit in the turret and its capability of firing has been knocked out. The vehicle can still move and is able, therefore, to get away.

  • Catastrophic Kill. The vehicle is destroyed. To obtain a catastrophic kill, firers should be prepared to fire a second or a third shot to destroy the vehicle..

An armored vehicle without the protection of dismounted infantry is vulnerable to a close attack by well-armed infantry units. When an armored vehicle is buttoned up, the crew's visibility is restricted, as shown in Figure 1-9. This provides an opportunity for an armor-killer team to approach the vehicle with less risk of detection.

Natural or man-made obstacles force the vehicle to slow, stop, or bypass, thus enabling the firer to possibly achieve a first-round hit.

NOTE: Hitting an armored vehicle below center mass may stop the vehicle but not its turret or guns. The same is true of a rear shot. Firers should be ready to fire a second or a third shot to destroy the vehicle.

3. Dragon Medium Antitank/Assault Weapon.

This paragraph discusses the characteristics and components of the M47 Dragon.

a. Characteristics. The guided missile system, surface attack: M47 (Dragon), is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, medium antitank weapon referred to as the Dragon. Capable of defeating armored vehicles, fortified bunkers, concrete gun emplacements, and other hardened targets on the battlefield, it can be operated by the individual soldier or by a two-man team. When you use the Dragon with the mechanized infantry, you can mount and fire it from the armored personnel carrier (APC) or you can mount and fire it from the M3 or the M122 machine gun tripod, using the M175 mount. You can fire the Dragon using either the day tracker or the night tracker. The Dragon night tracker (AN/TAS-5) increases the gunner's ability to engage targets during limited visibility. You can engage targets during daylight and during limited visibility, such as that caused by smoke, fog, or darkness.

b. Components. The Dragon consists of the components shown in Figure 1-10. These components are as follows:

  • Day tracker.

  • Night tracker.

  • Round of ammunition.

The round is the expendable part of the system. The round has two major assemblies:

  • Launcher.

  • Missile.

The launcher serves as the handling and carrying container for firing the missile.

The tracker is the reusable part of the system. It is designed for fast, easy detachment from the round. The tracker (day or night) determines any deviation of the missile from the line of sight (LOS) and generates correcting signals. These correcting signals are sent to the missile control system by a wire link.

c. Defensive Capabilities. The Dragon is basically a defensive weapon that can be used in all weather conditions and in any type of terrain. It is organic to infantry, armor, and artillery units. The Dragon provides the mounted or the dismounted soldier with a defense against hostile armor during both day and night operations.

The Dragon can be used during the assault against field fortifications, heavy weapon emplacements, and other hard-point targets. With its light weight, rapid deployment, and ease of operation, it is particularly suited for airborne and air mobile operations.

d. Tracking and Controlling Capabilities. The command line of sight guidance system of the Dragon provides a high probability of a hit. However, to achieve a hit, the gunner must be well trained concerning steady hold factors. The gunner acquires the target in the tracker (day or night) and sets and holds the sight cross hairs on the center mass on the exposed portion of the target. This provides a continuous line of sight for the tracker; other gunner control is required. The guidance and control are automatic until the missile impacts and the gunner detaches the tracker, disposes of the expended launcher, and prepares to fire another round.

e. Mobility. The system can be hand-carried by one man. Therefore, the gunner/team chief can quickly displace to reduce the chance of detection or to engage targets that are not within the range of the primary fighting position.

f. Rounds. Three basic rounds are available for use with the Dragon: M222 and MK 1, MOD 0, tactical rounds (heat warheads), and M223 practice round (inert warhead).

All rounds use the same basic airframe, aerodynamic control system, command-link wire, and missile electronics design.

g. Equipment Data. The following data describe the general and the specific characteristics of the Dragon:

(1) General. The Dragon has the following general characteristics:

  • Minimum range = 65 meters.

  • Maximum range = 1,000 meters.

  • Ammunition = high explosive antitank warhead and inert warhead.

(2) Specific. The Dragon has the following specific characteristics:

(a) Round: M222/M223 weight = 14.6 kilograms (25.29 pounds).

  • Missile length = 744 millimeters (29.39 inches).

  • Launcher length = 1,154 millimeters (44.1 inches).

(b) Round: MK1, MOD 0 weight = 16.2 kilograms (27.2 pounds).

  • Missile length = 846 millimeters (33.32 inches)

  • Launcher length = 1,154 millimeters (44.1 inches)

(c) Day tracker weight = 3.1 kilograms (6.7 pounds); length = 196 millimeters (7.72 inches)

(d) Night tracker weight = 9.82 kilograms (21.65 pounds); length = 368 millimeters (14.5 inches)

h. Night Tracker Coolant Cartridge and Battery Carrying Container. Mechanized infantry squad are issued five coolant cartridge packs and one battery carrying container full of components. A nonmechanized squad is issued five coolant cartridge packs and three battery carrying containers full of components.

i. Support Equipment (M113-Equipped Units Only). Units equipped with the M113 APC are authorized the following Dragon support equipment:

  • Guided missile launcher mount.

  • M175, M3/M122 machine gun tripods.

  • Vehicle storage kit.

(1) M175 Mounting Assembly. The guided missile launcher mount (shown in Figure 1-11) provides a stable platform for firing the Dragon missile from the M113 APC and the M3 or M122 machine gun tripods. The unit track mechanic installs the M175 mounting assembly on the APC. If the APC is turned in for overhaul or repair, ensure that the unit mechanic removes all support equipment.

The mounting assembly provides improved, stable firing and tracking conditions for the gunner, thereby increasing weapon system effectiveness.

The mount fires the M222/MK1, MOD 0, tactical rounds or the M233 practice round and accommodates the M54 launcher effect trainer (LET) and the M57 field handling trainer (FHT).

The round and the tracker are electrically mated through two connectors on the mount. Fire them using a remote firing mechanism on the right rear of the cradle.

Azimuth and elevation to reduce gunner and vehicle vibrations and assist the gunner in obtaining a firm, steady tracking action.

(2) M3/M122 Machine Gun Tripod. Either the M3 or the M122 machine gun tripods (shown in Figure 1-12) can be used to fire the Dragon from a ground support position.

(3) Vehicle Storage Kit. The vehicle storage kit (shown in Figure 1-13) is installed in all M113 APCs assigned to mechanized infantry squads. It consists of the following night tracker support equipment:

  • A night tracker storage rack, located just below the day tracker storage case, to secure the night tracker when it is not in use.

  • A vehicle power conditioner to step down the power of the 24-volt battery.

  • A battery charger rack and a PP-7382/TAS battery charger are also operated from the APC power source.

  • Three coolant cartridge container storage racks and one battery container storage rack are under the personnel seats.


1. Introduction.

The tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) weapon system has undergone several developments which have introduced significant improvements to the original (Basic) TOW, such as the Improved TOW (I-TOW) and the TOW 2 series (TOW 2, TOW 2A, and TOW 2B). The TOW/TOW 2 weapon system can be mounted on a tripod or carried on a number of carriers (M151A2, HMMWV, M113A2, M901A1, Cobra and Apache attack helicopters). Part B will teach you the characteristics of TOW mounts and carriers as well as the characteristics of TOW missiles and markings.

The tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) is a crew-portable, heavy antitank missile weapon system. The TOW operates from

  • the ground.

  • armored, lightly armored, or unarmored multipurpose vehicles.

  • helicopters.

The system consists of a guided missile and a launcher used to engage

  • tanks.

  • fortifications.

  • other material targets.

The launcher is the hardware that initiates, tracks, and controls the flight of the missile. This is done by guidance signals transmitted over a command-link wire that connects the missile with the launcher.

2. Characteristics.

The TOW weapon system has the characteristics identified in the following paragraphs.

a. Description. The TOW weapon system consists of a launcher which has tracking and control capabilities and the TOW, which is encased in a launch container. A night sight is also provided to aid in tracking during limited visibility. The launcher is equipped with self-contained, replaceable units.

b. Capabilities. The TOW weapon system can be employed in all weather conditions if the gunner can see his target through the optical sight or the night sight. The TOW is primarily an antitank weapon used to provide long-range engagement of all known armored targets. The TOW missile is capable of destroying targets at a maximum range of 3,750 meters (depending upon the type of missile).

The TOW also provides a long-range assault capability against

  • heavily fortified bunkers.

  • pill boxes.

  • gun emplacements.

Components of the night sight are:

  • AN/TAS-4 night sight.

  • Boresight collimator.

  • Night sight vehicle power conditioner.

  • Batteries.

  • Coolant cartridges.

The TOW missile is also a major component of the weapon system.

The TOW launcher has the following capabilities and features:

  • It operates in all weather conditions in which the gunner can see the target through the optical sight or the night sight.

  • It operates during the day and the night.

  • It operates in temperatures of -32 to +60 C (-25 to +140 F).

  • It operates at altitudes up to 3,050 meters (10,000 feet).

  • It has a high first-round-hit chance against targets that stay still or move.

  • The entire weapon system can be hand-carried by the weapons crew.

  • It is easy to operate.

  • Firing sites can be changed quickly to avoid being seen or to engage targets not within the range of a single firing position.

  • Mounting kits allow mounting on several different vehicles.

  • It is easily removed or installed without the use of tools.

  • The weapon system can be checked out by a self-test without the use of test equipment.

  • Failed components can be replaced at the operating site by Direct Support personnel.

  • The minimum and the maximum effective ranges of the missile are 65 to 3,750 meters. (Hit probability of extended range missile is reduced to 3,750 meters due to MGS circuitry design).

c. Tracking and/or Control Capabilities. The automatic missile tracking and/or control capabilities of the TOW weapon system provide a first-round-hit probability. To operate the system, the gunner performs the following actions:

  • Places the cross hairs of the optical sighting system (either the optical sight or the night sight) on the target.

  • Fires the missile.

  • Keeps the cross hairs centered upon the image of his target until missile impact.

The optical tracking and command functions within the system guide the missile along the gunner's line of sight. The gunner does not apply lead, windage, or elevation.

d. Mobility. The TOW weapon system allows it to be mounted on a vehicle or to be emplaced on the ground (tripod-mounted) for operation. Missiles can be launched from either operational mode. The TOW weapon system appears in the following configurations:

  • Tripod-Mounted TOW/TOW 2.

  • M151A2-Mounted TOW/TOW 2.

  • M966-Mounted TOW/TOW 2.

  • M113A2-Mounted TOW (basic).

  • M901-Series Improved TOW Vehicle.

A weapon crew can hand-carry the entire system. Therefore, emplacement sites can be changed quickly to minimize detection or to engage targets that are not within the range of one emplacement. The vehicle-mounted launcher has a greater degree of mobility and can be quickly prepared for use. The assembly and the disassembly of the launcher is accomplished quickly in the field without the use of tools. The operational condition of the assembled launcher can be checked any time by the use of built-in self-test circuits.

3. System Configurations.

The TOW weapon system comes in two configurations: the M220A1 (TOW) and the M220A2 (TOW 2).

a. M220A1 (TOW) Weapon System. The M220A1 TOW consists of the following major components (shown in Figures 1-14 and 1-15):

  • Tripod.

  • Traversing unit.

  • Launch tube.

  • Daysight tracker.

  • AN/TAS-4 nightsight.

  • Missile guidance set (MGS).

  • A battery assembly housed in the compartment of the MGS.

  • An encased missile.

The M220A1 weighs about 265.5 pounds with all its components and carrying cases. With the encased missile (BGM-71A), the M220A1 weighs 320 pounds.

The M220A1 TOW uses the following missiles:

  • BGM-71A.

  • BGM-71A-1.

  • BGM-71A-2.

  • BGM-71A-3.

It can also launch the BGM-71D (TOW 2) missile but lacks the capability to track the BGM-71D (TOW 2) through obscurants and countermeasures.

b. M220A2 TOW 2 Weapon System. The M220A2 is a combination of both a modification to the M220A1 TOW launcher and the addition of a new missile. The M220A2 TOW 2 launcher modified the M220A1 TOW components below (shown in Figure 1-16) to form the M220A2 TOW 2 launcher:

  • Traversing unit.

  • Digital MGS.

  • AN/TAS-4A thermal night sight.

The M220A2 TOW 2 weapon system weighs 256.5 pounds with all its components and carrying cases (shown in Figure 1-17). With the encased missile (BGM-71D), it weighs about 318.5 pounds.

The TOW 2 missile (BGM-71D) improvements include the following items:

  • New guidance-link.

  • Full-caliber, six-inch warhead.

  • Reloaded flight motor.

  • Longer warhead probe.

The M220A2 TOW 2 launcher is compatible with all nine missile configurations. It can achieve a higher probability of hit against all types of targets through improved microprocessor-based electronics that use digital design techniques.

The TOW 2 weapon system introduces the following improvements to the TOW weapon system:

  • TOW 2 Missile. The TOW 2 missile is engineered to be highly effective against heavy armor (tank) threats likely to appear on the battlefield in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It features a redesigned standoff probe, an improved flight motor, a more robust warhead, and an additional tracking beacon.

  • TOW 2 Warhead. The TOW 2 warhead, which is heavier, larger, and more powerful than the warheads of the I-TOW or the Basic TOW and occupies the full six-inch diameter of the missile. As with the I-TOW, the TOW 2 warhead incorporates a probe that extends after launch to provide standoff detonation and greater armor piercing effect.

  • TOW 2 Flight Motor. To compensate for the increased weight of the TOW 2 warhead and other TOW 2 modifications, the TOW 2 flight motor is loaded with an improved propellant which provides a 30 percent greater impulse. Consequently, although the TOW 2 missile is heavier and more powerful than Basic TOW or I-TOW, its flight performance is not degraded by these modifications.

  • Other Improvements. Improvements have been made to the following components of the TOW 2 weapon system, in addition to those made to the TOW 2 missile itself:

    • Guidance. The guidance for TOW 2 emphasized "hardening" the guidance link to overcome electro-optical countermeasures (EOCM) and stressed the development of system enhancements to permit day or night operation, even through dust, smoke, and other obscurants. These improvements, along with other ancillary changes, make the guidance system more accurate, flexible, and reliable.

    • Guidance Electronics. The missile guidance electronics are extensively upgraded for TOW 2. Dual digital microprocessors replace the analog computer used in the Basic TOW guidance electronics. The reengineered guidance electronics provide substantially greater computing capability, thereby providing more precise guidance. Additionally, the digital system offers the potential for more precise guidance equations, through software modifications, to accommodate new TOW missile developments such as TOW 2A and TOW 2B. Therefore, the Digital Missile Guidance Electronics are not only more powerful but also more accurate for all TOW missiles: Basic, I-TOW, TOW 2, and TOW 2A.

    • Sight/Sensor Assemblies. The basic functions of the sight/sensor assemblies are to provide the means target acquisition and target-missile tracking. Thus, the ability to guide the TOW 2 series missiles (TOW 2, TOW 2A, and TOW 2B) precisely through battlefield obscurants, day or night, is accomplished by the night sight. The night sight, employed in conjunction with the Optical Sight Sensor (OSS), provides dual, redundant tracking and guidance capability for the TOW 2 system.

    • Tracking. As part of the TOW 2 system, a high-intensity thermal beacon is added to the aft (rear) end of the TOW 2 series missile designs to provide an infrared (IR) tracking source--different wavelength from the xenon beacon--visible to the night sight sensor. The xenon beacon of the Basic and the I-TOW designs is retained on the 2/2A missiles. As before, the distinctive infrared wavelength signature of the xenon beacon is used by the optical sight to track the TOW missile in clear visibility conditions. For maximum probability of a hit, the gunner need only choose one of the two sights to use. In either case, as the gunner tracks the target, the guidance loop senses the missile's deviation from the line-of-sight (LOS) to the target. These data are transmitted to the missile guidance electronics, which computes missile variance from the line-of-sight. Flight correction data are then transmitted to the missile via the wire link.

4. Missile Configuration.

Four configurations of TOW missiles may be used:

  • BGM-71A.

  • BGM-71A-1.

  • BGM-71C.

  • BGM-71D.

All missile configurations use the same basic airframe, aerodynamic control system, command-link wire, and missile electronic designs.

a. The Basic TOW Missile (BGM-71A). The basic TOW missile (BGM-71A) has a range of 3,000 meters (later improved, as the BGM-71A-1, to 3,750 meters) and has a five-inch-high explosive, shaped-charge warhead.

b. The Improved TOW (BGM-71C). The improved TOW (BGM-71C) has an improved five-inch warhead that includes an extensible probe to provide detonation at a greater standoff distance from the target and greater penetration effectiveness.

c. The TOW 2 (BGM-71D). The TOW 2 (BGM-71D) has a six-inch full-caliber warhead that also includes an extensible probe. In addition to the infrared radiator of the basic and the improved TOW versions, TOW 2 has a second infrared radiator to provide hardened system performance against battlefield obscurants and countermeasures. This second radiator, called the thermal beacon, provides tracking link compatibility with the electro-optical infrared night sight, which is part of the TOW 2 launcher system.

d. Destruction of the TOW Weapon System. In combat, it may be necessary to destroy the TOW components, vehicle, and missiles to prevent their capture. Destruction of parts by mechanical means, explosives, gunfire, or burning will make it useless to the enemy. The crew will destroy the weapon system only on the commander's orders.

5. M151A2-Mounted TOW/TOW 2.

The M151A2-mounted TOW weapon system consists of two 1/4-ton vehicles: a firing vehicle and a missile carrier. The crew consists of four men: the squad leader, the gunner, the loader, and the driver-ammunition bearer. The squad leader and the gunner are on the firing vehicle. The loader and the driver-ammunition bearer are on the missile carrier.

a. Firing Vehicle. The M232A2 mounting kit equips the M151A2 firing vehicle (shown in Figure 1-18) for mounting and deploying the TOW. On the right side of the vehicle are special racks to carry two encased missiles. The traversing unit, the optical sight, the missile guidance set (MGS), the night sight, and the launch tube are installed in an operational ready state on the launcher mount. In preparation for travel, the launch tube is locked down in the eight-degree down position.

The closed tripod is secured by straps in two supports beneath the missile racks. The missile racks pivot up to permit the removal of the tripod. The TOW vehicle power conditioner is stowed in the MGS, and the MGS is mounted on an elevated frame assembly on the floor of the vehicle, just forward of the launcher mount. The night sight spare battery power conditioner or coolant cartridge case is stowed under the radio mount behind the driver's seat. The night sight field handling case and storage rack is on the right side of the driver's seat, as shown in Figure 1-19. The launcher can be removed quickly from the firing vehicle for ground emplacement.

b. Missile Carrier. The M236A1 mounting kit equips the M151A2 missile carrier for carrying six encased missiles and a spare battery assembly. The mounting kit consists of the following components:

  • Left rack assembly.

  • Right rack assembly.

  • Battery storage rack.

  • Straps for the boresight collimator carrying case and the night sight battery and the coolant cartridge cases, as shown in Figure 1-20.

(1) Left Rack Assembly. The left rack assembly mounts over the left rear wheel. The rack is used to tie down the aft end of the six encased missiles. It also has hooks to prevent the lateral sliding of the encased missiles while traveling.

(2) Right Rack Assembly. The right rack assembly mounts over the right rear wheel. It is used to tie down the forward end of the six encased missiles.

(3) Battery Assembly Storage Rack. The battery assembly storage rack mounts between the front seats and provides stowage of a spare battery assembly.

(4) Boresight Collimator Carrying Case. The boresight collimator carrying case is strapped down in the left rear floor, under the missiles.

(5) Night Sight Battery and Coolant Cartridge Cases. The night sight battery and coolant cartridge cases are strapped down opposite the collimator case.

6. M966-Mounted TOW/TOW 2.

The M966-mounted TOW is a one-vehicle (1 1/4-ton truck) system, as shown in Figure 1-21. It is a comprehensive wheeled combat system that is air-transportable, versatile, maintainable, and survivable.

a. Characteristics and Capabilities. The following characteristics and capabilities provide the off-road mobility and speed that are needed in combat:

  • 16-inch ground clearance.

  • Four-wheel independent suspension.

  • Steep approach and departure angles of 60-percent gradeability.

  • Side slope of 40 percent.

  • 30-inch (without kit) (60-inch, with kit) water-fording capability.

The vehicle carries one complete launcher system, six encased missiles, and a crew of three (squad leader, gunner, and driver-loader).

b. Equipment Storage. The TOW weapon system components are stored in the interior of the vehicle as follows:

  • Six encased missiles are stowed in the missile racks on the left rear of the cargo area.

  • The traversing unit is stowed on the traversing unit adapter behind the right front passenger seat.

  • The missile guidance set is stowed on the gunner's platform, between the left and right rear passenger seat.

  • The night sight and the collimator are stowed on the right cargo shelf.

  • The launch tube is stowed on the right side of the cargo shell door.

  • The battery power conditioner (BPC) and the spare battery pack or the night sight coolant cartridges and a 4.8-volt nickel cadmium battery are stowed on the floor bracket next to the right wall of the cargo shelf.

  • The battery assemblies are stowed in the battery rack above the missile rack.

  • The tripod is stowed retracted, lying across the rear of the cargo area.

  • The TOW vehicle power conditioner (TVPC) is stowed in the missile guidance set.

7. M113A2-Mounted TOW (Basic).

The M113A2 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) (shown in Figure 1-22) is a one-vehicle system equipped for mounting the TOW 2. The M113A2-mounted TOW weapon system has a crew of four:

  • Squad leader.

  • Gunner.

  • Loader.

  • Driver.

For protection against artillery and mortar fragments and small-arms fire, a TOW cover, artillery protection is installed.

a. M113A2 APC TOW System. The M233 mounting kit provides equipment for installing the TOW on the M113A2 and for stowing 10 encased missiles, a spare battery assembly, and all ground-emplacement components of the weapon system.

b. Equipment Storage. Equipment is stowed on the M113A2 APC in the following manner:

  • Storing racks for the encased missiles are on the center, right side of the vehicle. You can easily remove and hand the missiles through the cargo hatch to the gunner on the gunner's platform.

  • Stow the launch tube in the support mechanism just above the missile racks.

  • Stow the closed tripod in an upright position so it is held by a quick-release clamp forward of the missile racks on the right side of the vehicle.

  • The spare battery assembly is stowed in a storage rack just aft of the missile racks.

  • The gunner's platform, in the raised position, provides the gunner with an elevated position, enabling him to operate the weapon system when the launcher is raised and ready to fire. The platform is hinged to the floor of the vehicle. Unlatch and lower it to the floor for more leg room during travel.

  • Install the traversing unit and optical sight in an operational ready state on the telescoping pedestal. The pedestal mount provides stowage inside the vehicle and enables the gunner to raise the launcher onto a deck-firing position. The pedestal mount is mounted to double vertical rails that are pivoted at the vehicle floor. By unlocking these rails, the mount can be lifted aft and then elevated above and outside the deck of the vehicle. This requires some lifting effort by the operator, but this action is mostly supported by a set of constant tension springs which provide a counterbalance.

  • The pedestal lock handwheel locks the pedestal into the pedestal locking bracket when the pedestal is in the lowered or the elevated position. The handwheel lock handle secures the pedestal lock handwheel.

  • The telescoping pedestal release button is used in conjunction with the locking handle to lock the telescoping tube in the stowed (down) position. The locking handle locks the telescoping tube in any desired position from the stowed (down) position to the maximum telescoping height of 12 inches.

  • The missile guidance set is installed in a bracket and strap assembly on the upper left side of the vehicle, just forward of the fuel tank and near the telescoping pedestal. The missile guidance set is electrically connected to the traversing unit by an 8 1/2-foot pedestal cable.

  • The entire ground launcher system can be quickly removed from the vehicle for ground emplacement.

8. M901/M9O1A Improved TOW Vehicle (ITV).

The M901/M901A1 improved TOW vehicle is a one-vehicle weapon system. The M901 employs the M220A1 TOW. The M901A1 (shown in Figure 1-23) employs the M220A2 TOW 2. The improved TOW vehicle is manned by a crew of four:

  • Squad leader.

  • Gunner.

  • Loader.

  • Driver.

a. Characteristics. The M901-series improved TOW vehicle has the following characteristics:

  • A complete M220-series TOW weapon system stowed and strapped in fixed mounting brackets. The optical sight and the night sight AN/TAS-4 or AN/TAS-4A are mounted in an operational ready state.

  • A dual TOW missile launcher.

  • M243 smoke grenade launchers.

  • A 3X acquisition sight with a 25 field of view.

  • Remote actuators that allow optical sight and night sight adjustments.

  • An M60 machine gun mounted on a traversing rail.

  • A hydraulically and electrically powered turret that can be operated manually.

b. Capabilities. The M901-series ITV has a high first-round hit probability with a rapid engagement rate. It provides the crew and weapon system protection from small-arms fire and artillery fragments. The squad leader has 270 viewing through the squad leader's periscope. The periscope enhances the ITV's capability to operate from concealed and full-hull defilade positions. The turret launcher has the capability for day and night acquisitions and tracking of targets and provides firing coverages of 360 in azimuth and +35 to -30 in elevation. The ITV has stowage provisions for tripod-mounted TOW components configured so that the ground system can be dismounted and set up in three to five minutes. In addition, the ITV can ford small bodies of water (40 inches or less) and is air transportable.

9. AH-1S Cobra Attack Helicopter.

The AH-1S (G and S) Cobra helicopter (shown in Figure 1-24) is used in the support of military units as a combat gunship. Its primary mission is antiarmor, but the gunship can be used in close air support and air-to-air roles.

a. Users. The AH-1S is used by the following countries:

  • Iran.

  • Israel.

  • South Korea.

  • Spain.

  • United States.

b. Characteristics. The following characteristics of the AH-1S are used as recognition features:

  • Two-bladed main rotor; two-bladed tail rotor.

  • Single turbine engine.

  • Long, slender fuselage with an integral chin turret.

  • Swept-back vertical stabilizer.

  • Small, tapered, swept-back wings aft of the canopy; the wings have armament stores.

  • Seating capacity of two.

c. Capabilities. The capabilities of the AH-1S (speed, range, armament, weapon range, and origin) are shown in Figure 1- 25.

10. AH-64A Apache Attack Helicopter.

The AH-64A Apache helicopter (shown in Figure 1-26) is a totally integrated weapons system. Firepower options include up to 16 Hellfire missiles, 76 70-mm aerial rockets, and 1,200 rounds of 30-mm ammunition.

The availability of armament options for the AH-64A provides mission flexibility. The AH 64A has the following armament options:

  • Mission: antiarmor (Defense) Mid-East--Primary Mission 4,000 Feet/95 Degrees F. Four Hellfire missiles are under each wing of the helicopter, and the belly-mounted gun fires 320 rounds. Performance (based upon actual aircraft weight) is as follows:

    • Vertical rate of climb feet-per-minute (FPM) = 1,450.

    • Maximum level FLT speed KTS = 154.

    • Mission duration = 1.83 hours.

  • antiarmor (Defense) Mid-East--4,000 Feet/95 Degrees F. Four Hellfire missiles are under each wing of the helicopter, and the belly-mounted gun fires 1,200 rounds. Performance (based upon actual weight) is as follows:

    • Vertical rate of climb (IRP) FPM = 450.

    • Maximum level FLT speed (VH) KTS = 151.

    • Mission duration = 2.67 hours.

  • antiarmor (Defense) Mid-East--4.000 Feet/95 Degrees F. Eight Hellfire missiles are under each wing and the belly-mounted gun fires 320 rounds. Performance (based upon actual weight) is as follows:

    • Vertical rate of climb (IRP) FPM = 450.

    • Maximum level FLT speed (VH) KTS = 147.

    • Mission duration = 1.9 hours.

  • antiarmor (Defense) Europe--2,000 Feet/70 Degrees F. Eight Hellfire missiles are under each wing of the helicopter, and the belly-mounted gun fires 1,200 rounds. Performance (based upon actual weight) is as follows:

    • Vertical rate of climb (IRP) FPM = 990.

    • Maximum level FLT speed (VH) KTS = 148.

    • Mission duration = 2.5 hours.

  • Covering Force (Air Cavalry) Mid-East--4,000 feet/95 Degrees F. Four Hellfire missiles are under each wing of the helicopter, and the belly-mounted gun fires 1,200 rounds. Performance (based upon actual weight) is as follows:

    • Vertical rate of climb (IRP) FPM = 960.

    • Maximum level FLT speed (VH) KTS = l53.

    • Mission duration = 1.83 hours.

  • Covering Force (Air Cavalry) Europe--2,000 Feet/70 Degrees F. Four Hellfire missiles and 19 rockets are under each wing of the helicopter, and the belly-mounted gun fires 1,200 rounds. Performance (based upon actual weight) is as follows:

    • Vertical rate of climb (IRP) FPM = 860.

    • Maximum level FLT speed (VH) KTS = 150.

    • Mission duration = 2.5 hours.

  • Airmobile Escort, Mid-East--4,000 Feet/95 degrees F. Nineteen rockets are under each wing of the helicopter, and the belly-mounted gun fires 1,200 rounds. Performance (based on actual weight) is as follows:

    • Vertical rate of climb (IRP) FPM = 860.

    • Maximum level FLT speed (VH) KTS = 155.

    • Mission duration = 1.83 hours.

  • Airmobile Escort, Europe--2,000 Feet/70 Degrees F. Thirty-eight rockets are under each wing of the helicopter, and the belly-mounted gun fires 1,200 rounds. Performance (based upon actual weight) is as follows:
    • Vertical rate of climb (IRP) FPM = 780.

    • Maximum level FLT speed (VH) KTS = 153.

    • Mission duration = 2.5 hours.

The Hellfire laser-guided missile subsystem is the primary armament, capable of defeating all currently known armored vehicles at significant standoff ranges. The use of Hellfire minimizes AH-64A engagement time and permits missile launching from concealed positions. Hellfire is employed using direct and indirect firing modes with single-fire, rapid-fire, and/or ripple-fire missile engagement. Normally, direct- and rapid-fire modes are fired autonomously by using the on-board laser to designate the target. Ripple- and indirect-fire modes are used in cooperative attacks with designation by other attack helicopters, laser-equipped scouts, RPVs, or remote ground designators. The indirect mode allows the Apache to destroy the armor of opposing forces while remaining masked and at extended ranges, enhancing effectiveness and survivability.

The 30-mm chain gun automatic cannon is the primary weapon subsystem, providing suppressive firepower and the capability to destroy lightly armored vehicles. The turreted cannon also provides self-protection from air threats. This weapon system is usually operated by the copilot/gunner, using the Target Acquisition Designation Sight (TADS), but it may also be directed by either crew member, using the helmet-mounted sight. The cannon uses high explosive dual-purpose rounds with exceptional terminal effects and is ADEN/DEFA ammunition compatible.

Another firepower option consists of 70-mm Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR), which have been a standard U. S. Army and NATO munition for many years. However, new developments for the 70-mm FFAR--such as the Mark 66 motor, the Multipurpose Submunition Warhead, and articulating pylons--have significantly enhanced the effectiveness of this system. The aerial rockets may be fired either by either crew member with aiming and steering commands shown on the helmet display or in conjunction with the TADS for increased accuracy. The crew can select fuse ranges or tree heights to control detonation, as well as launching modes (single, pairs, or quads), launching rate, quantity launched, and zone launching.

All weapons systems are directed through a fire control computer which significantly enhances target hit probability. By pre-pointing weapons and computing precise ballistic trajectories, the fire control computer reduces the time required to acquire targets and provides the best weapons system performance ever achieved in an attack helicopter.

The AH-64A Apache helicopter is used in the support of military units as a combat gunship. The primary mission of the AH-64A Apache is antiarmor, but the gunship can be used in close air support and air-to-air roles.

a. User. The AH-64A Apache helicopter is used by the United States.

b. Characteristics. The following characteristics of the AH64A Apache helicopter are used as recognition features:

  • Four-bladed main rotor; four-bladed tail rotor.

  • Twin turbine engines.

  • Two-place tandem seats.

  • Flat-plate canopy.

  • Wheel-type landing gear.

  • Fixed wings with armament stores.

  • Belly-mounted gun.

  • Seating capacity of two.

c. Capabilities. The capabilities of the AH-64A Apache (speed, range, armament, weapon range, and origin) are shown in Figure 1-27.



1. Missile Types.

The TOW missile is the only ammunition used with the TOW/TOW 2 weapon systems. This missile is encased in a launch container (missile case) which is put into the launcher when it is ready to use.

a. Practice Types. The encased missile comes in four practice types. Each practice type contains an inactive (inert) warhead. The four practice types of TOW missiles are:

  • BTM-71A (normal range).

  • BTM 71A-1 (extended range).

  • BTM 71A-2 (normal range) with the Missile Ordnance Inhibit Circuit (MOIC).

  • BTM 71A-3 (extended range) with the MOIC.

b. Attack Types. The encased missile also comes in seven attack types, each of which contains a high-explosive warhead:

  • BGM 71A ( normal range).

  • BGM 71A-1 (extended range).

  • BGM 71A-2 (normal range, with MOIC).

  • BGM 71A-3 (extended range, with MOIC).

  • BGM 71C (with an improved, five-inch warhead).

  • BGM 71C-1 (with an improved five-inch warhead and MOIC).

  • BGM 71D (TOW 2).

Figure 1-28 shows the length, diameter, volume, weight, explosive weight (approximate), (warhead, launch and flight motor weights) for both the four practice- and the seven attack-type missiles.

2. TOW/TOW 2 Missile Types.

Since the development of the TOW missile, nine different types have been fielded.

a. Basic TOW. The first four (identified as Basic TOW) have basically the same characteristics, with an improvement in range from 3,000 to 3,750 meters.

b. Improved TOW (I-TOW). Two Improved TOW missiles (I-TOWs BGM 71C and BGM 71C) introduced an extended probe enhancing armor penetration.

Figure 1-29 lists the different types of TOW/TOW 2 missiles and shows the following information about each type:

  • how it is designated.

  • its maximum range.

  • its type of warhead.

c. TOW 2-Series. The TOW 2-series of missiles represent still further improvements to the Basic and Improved TOW missiles.

To identify missiles by their types, refer to the missile case identification markings in Part C, paragraph 4.

3. Distinguishing Characteristics.

The TOW missile can destroy targets at a minimum range of 65 meters, up to a maximum range of 3,750 meters. Five TOW missiles are of great concern:

a. Improved TOW (I-TOW). The I-TOW (BGM 71C) missile has a five-inch warhead which includes an extended probe to provide detonation at a greater stand-off distance from the target, thus increasing armor penetration.

NOTE: The perception of "standoff" to mean "engage armor vehicles beyond 2,000 meters to maximum range (3,750 meters)" is not always tactically feasible. Reasons include: (1) Tracking time beyond 2,000 meters increases the likelihood of gunner error and provides the enemy additional reaction time to maneuver against your position. (2) The probabilities of a hit at extended ranges are significantly lower, especially through thermal sights and obscuration. (3) Ranges beyond 2,000 meters decrease the probability of flank shot hits due to extended tracking time, the increased speed capability of modernized vehicles, and terrain restrictions.

Refer to Figure 1-29 for information concerning the targets for which TOW 2 missiles are most effective.

c. TOW 2 Missiles. There are three TOW 2-series missiles: TOW 2 (BGM 71D); the TOW 2A (BGM 71E), and the TOW 2B (BGM 71F). The distinguishing characteristics of these missiles are described in the following paragraphs:

  • TOW 2 (BGM 71D). The TOW 2 missile (BGM 71D) has a six-inch, full caliber warhead which includes an extensible probe which enhances penetration, including the penetration of applique armor.

  • TOW 2A (BGM 71E). The TOW 2A (BGM 71E) missile is an improvement to the basic TOW missile. It was developed to keep the TOW antitank system viable against advanced armor fielded by opposing forces. As all the other members of the TOW missile family, TOW 2A can be fired from any of the existing TOW platforms (the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, the AH-1 helicopter, the M113 armored personnel carrier, and the tripod ground mount). However, to optimize TOW 2A capabilities, minor software changes to the missile guidance electronics have been developed. There are no additional training requirements for TOW gunners as a result of fielding the TOW 2A missile. The TOW 2A has all the capabilities of the TOW 2 missile. However, it contains an explosive charge in the tip of the probe to defeat reactive armor to allow penetration by the main warhead: The precursor warhead in the missile probe is designed to set off the explosive in a tank's reactive armor, clearing the way for the primary warhead to penetrate the tank. The primary warhead employed on the TOW 2A missile is the same as that used on the TOW 2 missile, and the two missiles are almost identical in appearance.

  • TOW 2B (BGM 71F). Refer to Lesson Three, Part A, for information concerning the TOW 2B (BGM 71F) missile.

d. Basic TOW, Practice Round ((BTM 71A). The Basic TOW, practice (BTM 71A) has an inert warhead and is the standard training round.

4. Missile Marking.

NOTE: The markings described in this paragraph and shown in Figures 1-30 through 1-35 are new; they are not yet used in the field.

TOW/TOW 2 missiles are identified by markings on their missile cases (shown in Figures 1-30 through 1-35). On the left side of the nose end of the missile case, an identification decal identifies the missile as being a 71A, 71A-1, 71C, 71D, 71E, or 71F.

To the right of the identification decal, there is a two-inch-wide identification tape. This tape, which identifies the type of missile encased in the missile case, is either blue (71A) or yellow (71A1, 71C, 71D, 71E, and 71F).

At the middle of the left side of the missile case (to the right of the identification tape) is the Lot Number and Storage Temperature Limits. The Lot Numbers change, but the Storage Temperature Limits for all types of TOW/TOW 2 missiles is the same (-65 degrees F to +155 degrees F).

To the right of the Lot Number and Storage Temperature Limits data, toward the aft (rear) end of the missile case, is a two-inch-wide strip of brown tape.

On the rear end of the missile case is a circular stencil which again identifies the type of missile as being 71A, 71A-1, 71C, 71D, 71E, or 71F.

On the top side of the missile case, midway between the nose and the aft ends of the case is stenciled the missile type and its respective maximum range.

5. Missile Selection.

The improvement of the armor protection of opposing forces' vehicles has resulted in improved TOW missiles. Figure 1-35 recommends the best TOW missile to use against various types of targets. In all cases, flank shots increase the probability of a single shot kill and minimize detection and engagement from opposing forces' armor.

Figure 1-30. Missile Markings for Identification (BGM 71A).


Figure 1-31. Missile Markings for Identification (BGM 71A-1).


Figure 1-32. Missile Markings for Identification (BGM 71C).


Figure 1-33. Missile Markings for Identification (BGM 71D).


Figure 1-34. Missile Markings for Identification (BGM 71E).


Figure 1-35. Missile Selection Chart.


Practice Exercise


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