Tube launched missile capability from airborne platform

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Tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless-guided (TOW) 2A radio frequency (RF) practice missiles have been successfully fired from an AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter, according to defence contractor Raytheon.

Raytheon, working with the US Naval Air Systems Command, fired two TOW 2A RF practice missiles at ranges exceeding 2,600m. 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.  

April 7, 2015

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