First launches of wireless-guided missiles from airborne platform
Press release from Raytheon Company
TUCSON, Ariz. (March 30, 2015)—In the first of its kind launch, Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) fired tube-launched, optically-tracked, wireless-guided (TOW®) 2A radio frequency (RF) practice missiles from an AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter during a December exercise.
Raytheon, working with the Naval Air Systems Command, fired two TOW 2A RF practice missiles at ranges exceeding 2600 meters. The two tests verified the missile's capability to be fired from a hovering aircraft and from an aircraft maneuvering to a threat. Both missiles hit their targets within inches of the aimpoints.
"Wire-guided TOW missiles have been fired from helicopters for years," said Michelle Lohmeier, vice president of Raytheon's Land Warfare Systems. "These shots demonstrate RF capability to be fired off platforms used with wired TOWs without modifications."
The TOW 2A RF missile is designed to be compatible with all TOW launch systems with no changes to the gunner's actions. While TOW RF is routinely fired from ground platforms, it had not been fired from an airborne platform until now.
"Airborne TOW has always been an integral part of combined-arms operations such as coastal defense missions," said Lohmeier. "These shots demonstrate that TOW 2A RF is fully capable of defeating modern threat targets and will be a viable asset of a nation's arsenal for the foreseeable future."
The tube-launched, optically-tracked, wireless-guided (TOW) weapon system, with the multimission TOW 2A, TOW 2B Aero and TOW Bunker Buster missiles, is the premier long-range, precision anti-armor, anti-fortification weapon system used throughout the world today. TOW is in service in more than 40 international armed forces and integrated on more than 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms worldwide. Raytheon has delivered more than 690,000 TOW missiles to U.S. and allied warfighters. The TOW weapon system will be in service with the U.S. military beyond 2025.