It takes a big missile to blow-up a tank.
Anti-Tank Guided Missile
The BGM-71 TOW is an anti-tank missile that is used by more than 40 militaries around the world. The weapon destroys tanks and other heavily armored vehicles such as Armored Personnel Carriers. The word TOW is an acronym for “Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-data linked,” which describes how the missile is fired.
The TOW anti-tank missile system was put into service in 1970 and has been used by the U.S. military ever since. Upgraded versions of the weapon have proved successful in destroying generations of tanks and armored vehicles.
Today, TOW anti-tank missile systems are used in more than 15,000 ground vehicles and aircraft worldwide. The weapon can also be used on its own by infantry soldiers who typically mount it on a tripod and fire it like a giant bazooka.
Deployed on Multiple Vehicles
The popularity of the BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile system is due – in large part – to the fact that the weapon can be mounted onto a variety of vehicles. Jeeps, Humvees and helicopters can each carry and deploy the anti-tank missile system.
Over the years, the weapon has been upgraded to include night vision, thermal optics and enhanced guidance systems. Lighter versions of the weapon have also been developed, although soldiers still complain that the anti-tank missile system is cumbersome to carry.
The anti-tank guided missile was developed for use during the Vietnam Conflict. However, it has since been used in wars and combat zones around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and throughout South America.
Other militaries that use the weapon include Canada, Israel, Japan, China and the United Kingdom – among others. Since its first use in Vietnam, anti-tank guided missiles have destroyed hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles.