The U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Saudi Arabia of TOW 2B (BGM-71F-Series) missiles for an estimated cost of $670 million.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Mar. 22, 2018.
Saudi Arabia has requested to buy up to 6,600 TOW 2B missiles (BGM-71F-Series) and 96 TOW 2B (BGM-71F-Series) fly-to-buy lot validation missiles.
Also included is government furnished equipment; technical manuals and publications; essential spares and repair parts; consumables; live fire exercise and ammunition; tools and test equipment; training; transportation; U.S. Government technical support and logistic support; contractor technical support; repair and return support; quality assurance teams; in-country Field Service Representative (FSR); other associated equipment and services in support of TOW 2B missiles; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated program cost is $670 million.
The DSCA said in a statement that this proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by improving the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East, and that the potential sale is consistent with U.S. initiatives to provide key partners in the region with modern systems that will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and increase stability.
The statement added that the proposed sale of TOW 2B missiles and technical support will advance the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to develop an integrated ground defense capability and that a strong national defense and dedicated military force will assist Saudi Arabia to sustain itself in its efforts to maintain stability. The statement noted that the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractor is Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, AZ.
BGM-71 TOW (“Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided”) is an American anti-tank missile.
TOW replaced much smaller missiles like the SS.10 and ENTAC, offering roughly twice the effective range, a more powerful warhead, and a greatly improved semi-automatic guidance system that could also be equipped with infrared cameras for night time use.
First produced in 1970, the TOW is one of the most widely used anti-tank guided missiles. It can be found in a wide variety of manually carried and vehicle mounted forms, as well as widespread use on helicopters. Originally designed by Hughes Aircraft in the 1960s, the weapon is currently produced by Raytheon.