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Oshkosh develops M-ATV TOW carrier

26th February 2011 - 16:22 by the Shephard News Team

Oshkosh Defense unveiled an MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) Multi-Mission Vehicle (MMV) equipped with a Raytheon Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) anti-tank missile launcher at the Association of the US Army Winter Symposium. It is the first MRAP series vehicle to be equipped with a TOW launcher.

Oshkosh began developing the TOW carrier as a company initiative following discussions with the infantry community at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia. The HMMWV is the primary carrier for the TOW launcher within US Army light infantry and US Marine Corps infantry battalions however the threat of improvised explosive devices has restricted the employment of the the HMMWV in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The TOW / Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS), equipped with the Far Target Locator since 2009, has been described as a 'weapon of choice' in the battle against insurgents and the army is keen to provide a highly mobile, survivable platform for the TOW/ITAS.

The M-ATV was developed specifically for use in Afghanistan and more than 5,000 vehicles are already deployed to theatre. A further development of the baseline M-ATV, the MMV, is intended for such roles as weapon carrier, reconnaissance and command-and-control.

In the TOW carrier configuration the standard TOW / ITAS launcher is pintle-mounted and an additional top hatch has been added at the rear to allow the gunner to reload missiles.  Meghan Zeimet, Oshkosh project manager, told Land Warfare International that the MMV could carry nine TOW missiles but the Close Combat Weapon Systems (CCWS) Project Office has stated a requirement to carry only six missiles.  The vehicle has seating for five including the gunner.

Zeimet said that Oshkosh is keen to receive feedback on the prototype, completed in January, from the user community and that it will be displayed at the first Reconnaissance Summit to be held at the MCoE on 6-8 April and will participate in the 2011 Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment.

Ken Juergens, vice president and general manager of Joint Programs for Oshkosh Defense, stressed the commonality advantages of employing the MMV TOW missile carrier alongside other M-ATV variants including the recently ordered ambulance. Oshkosh has received orders for more than 8,400 M-ATVs. Juergens anticipates that in Fiscal Year 2012 total orders will reach the 10,000 level set by existing budget authorisation and also predicts that the M-ATV could become a programme of record 'about FY2013'.

Oshkosh is marketing the M-ATV to potential export customers including Canada which has a requirement for  500 Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicles, with an option for an additional 100, and the UAE. Juergens said the M-ATV was the only one of three competing designs to complete a grueling three day trial period in the UAE in September 2010.

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