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Is TOW/TUA fire-and-forget now?

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Army_brat99

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There was a discussion not too long ago, about how 33 brand new LAV-3 TUA vehicles have been ordered.

On the DND website, while researching the new LAV-3 TUA, it was said that a gunner team testing the new TUA vehicle was the first gunner team ever, to test fire the new TOWB-A missile, an improvement on the TOW-B anti-tank missile.  The TOW-B AT missile is an improvement over the original TOW (Which is what we currently use) - however, the TOW B-A missile is an improvement on the improvement...an improvement on TOW B.  It specifically states that the TOW B-A missile WAS DESIGNED as a fire and forget tank killer, and that the new LAV-3 TUA vehicle was capable of firing it.

Anybody know more on this, or any thoughts on this?  Check out the Army section of the DND website for more info (Look for information on the LAV-3 TUA for the quick article behind it.)  The article basically said that a gunnery team from gagetown was the first to test the new LAV-3 TUA, and that one of the missiles available for it would be the fire and forget TOW B-A.

This, if true, and if understood correctly, could be a huge improvement in our tank killing abilities on the battlefield.  (Now, only if we had a reasonably larger number of LAV-3 TUA, as I personally believe that between training and deployment, 33 units will barely cover a BG deployment.)
 

AmmoTech90

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Could you post a link to the article with all the info you mentioned?  The only article I could find is on some troops firing the Bunker Buster and Aero varients of the TOW from the LAV TUA with ITAS.  Nowhere is the TOW B-A mentioned.  While I don't expect press outlets (military run or not) to be 100% accurate on their equipment designations that is nowhere near a correct designation.  The TOW-B (maybe meaning the the TOW 2B or BGM-71F?) missile you mention is an improvement over the original TOW, but there were a couple of more models in between the 71A and 71F.
 

ghazise

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The current Tow System is not capable of handling a fire and forget missile,   The TOW system, cannot download to a missile the signals necessary for a missile launched from our current system,   the only signals which the system is capable of sending into the missile are corrections signals to adjust the missile position in the field of view in either the thermal or the day sight,

With the M98A1 Javelin system the Command Launch Unit (CLU) downloads a thermal signature (target) to the missile via the viking connector, and it is that signature that the missile uses to acquire and close in on the target.

The TOW system has beacons on the back of the missile that continually send signals back to the Optical or Thermal sight, Those signals are referenced to where the crosshairs are pointed and the the MGS will send corrections to the missile, via the viking connector.

So to make a Tow System into a Fire and Forget system is an upgrade to the MGS would be needed.  
 

AmmoTech90

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It wouldn't be TOW then.  You would have to change the MGS, the optical sight and probably the power supply, as well as the missile.
All that leaves the launch tube, traversing unit and tripod.  You can then build a whole new system that can be launched from the cheapest components of a 40 year old system.
If thats all thats left of TOW.I'm thinking that buying a COTS missile like Javelin or Spike (although Spike is not fire and forget out to its maximum range) would make more sense.
A fire and forget missile can be much more portable than a linked system as all the equipment at the gunners end really has to do is take a picture and tell the missile, "This is what your target looks like".  From there it is the missiles job to keep an eye on the target.  Therefore the rock steady tripod and traversing unit aren't required.  As well the launch tube forms an integral part of the round of ammunition and is much lighter and pretty much negate the need for the metal launch tube.
There have been a couple of attempts to make a fire and forget TOW.  They've been pretty much abandoned.  The US is concentration the CMS (whatever form it may come in), the Brits have made some improvements, and we're going with ITAS and maybe some new warheads.
 

Kirkhill

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Ammotech

Does that mean that Javelin could be strapped onto the outside of a LAV turret?

I understand that one of the problems the Americans have had with Bradley mounted TOWs is that vibrations from the Bushmaster etc continually knock the sights out of alignment.  Is that true and would the Javelin have the same problem?
 

ghazise

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Here is  Raytheon's website:

http://www.raytheon.com/products/tow_2b/

 

AmmoTech90

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Kirkhill,

Sure, I mentioned that idea in earlier post.  The CLU for Javelin isn't much bigger than the Eryx firing post without the tripod attached.  I would think that best thing to do would be to keep the CLU inside and have mounts on either side or in the centre of the pax hatches, and either the gunner or crew commander's hatch.  The big problem would be ergonomics.  The missile mounts to the CLU at a significant angle (tail pointing downwards).  This means, that even though the back blast isn't huge, you have to make sure there's no one behind you.  Putting it on the pax hatch mounts means your exposing your side or rear to launch to the missile.  Putting it next to the cc/gnr just means that you have to make sure the pax hatches are closed before firing.  However the problem with the turret mount is lifting the CLU and missiles up through the hatches, thats a pretty tight squeeze.
Of course I guess that some one from the pax hatch could pass it up.
And the only application I've seen Javelin fired from is hand fired.  Maybe the CLU is rough enough to take being stored in a bustle along with a couple of rounds, have to ask the manufacturer.  I know the Brits I was with banged it around pretty good, dragging it along on section attacks and it still worked great.
So get someone who knows the missile, someone who knows the CLU, and someone who knows the LAV and let them solve the problem.  Can't be that hard compared to some problems we've overcome.
 

ghazise

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As a 2171 Electro-Optical Ordnance Technician, I have worked on the TOW, Javelin, LAV-25 and LAV-AT, basically everything you have to look through to blow up something,  The CLU is relatively a very simple system,  a lens, a DDC, two Circuit Cards, and a housing,  when the Javelin missile is ready to fired the seeker trigger is pulled and the image source changes from the CLU to the Missile so then you are actually looking through the eye of the missile,  as a Tech and a Engineering student I think it would be rather easy to integrate it in a LAV FC system.

For the Javelin I think the electronics are fantastic, but the housing has something to be desired???

I thought Canada was buying the system???

http://www.raytheon.com/products/javelin/ref_docs/javelin_canadian.pdf
 

AmmoTech90

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2FtOnion,

Yep thats the BGM-71F (TOW 2B). Great piece of kit but not fire and forget.

Opps, you posted again while I was getting coffee.

Yes we did try to buy but our bidding process got in the way.  We participated in a trial with the Brits between Javelin and Spike and as you know the Brits selected Javelin.  We wanted to buy it too based on the results of the trial.  However PWGSC (the government agency that looks after contracts) was of course involved and said the trial did not meet Canadian requirements, do it again.
Thats where it stands, hopefully the re-trial will be soon.
 

Kirkhill

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However PWGSC (the government agency that looks after contracts) was of course involved and said the trial did not meet Canadian requirements, do it again.

Oh Bloody Hell.  How much does an ad in Quebec cost these days??????
 

Kirkhill

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Oh and by the way AmmoTech90, sorry I didn't catch your earlier reference to the Javelin.  Cheers.

And thanks to the ever observant Moderator.  Language....... ;D
 
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