The U.S. Army is preparing to say goodbye to an old friend. The Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) anti-tank missile has served the Army for 50 years, tracking and destroying enemy armor in jungles, deserts, and even cities. The service wants a new missile that can travel twice as far, but also kill tanks closer than ever.
In the early 1970s, the Army fielded what was then the heaviest, longest-range anti-tank missile in the world. The Army, facing down thousands of Soviet tanks in Europe, needed a weapon system that could kill tanks accurately at long ranges, even beyond the range of tank guns. That missile was the BGM-71 TOW.