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TOW

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Tube Launched Optically Tracked Wire Guided Missile such as the Vigilant. Entered service around the time muskets went out of fashion. Eight tubes can be carried by the Lynx helicopter.

When the missile is launched, it is attached to the missile launcher tube by two bits of copper wire. This requires the dashing Aircraft commander to sit, unmasked for a large quantity of time until the missile either goes 'rogue' or falls just in front of the enemy armour/collection of boxes. The guidance system consists of parts thrown away by Sinclair when they made the ZX81 personal computer. This makes it as effective against modern armour as small boy with asthma using a catapult against a fully grown Frisian Bull. It can be jammed by cutting the wires in flight or telling the aircraft commander his flying pay has been reduced.

After a live firing range day, many aircrew can be seen wandering from the firing point to the target area (or mainly the areas where the missile went 'rogue') collecting all the copper wire up. This can be in excess of three kilometres of wire (x2). Another technique for collecting the wire is to fly a Lynx down range and allow it to collect it in the tail or main rotor. This may well be a quicker method but will attract the attention of the RQHI and the BATS (REME Aircraft technicians).

Ethiopia, Madagascar, The Congo, Fiji and Tonga phased this weapon out in the mid 70's in favour of more modern systems. The MoD bought all their redundant missiles on the cheap on a special ebay 'two for the price of one' promo.

The yanks LOVE this weapon system. Really. I once saw a Gunnery Master Chief trying to insert one into himself whilst wearing a Japanese Schoolgirl's soiled pants on his face, he loved it that much. The reason the yanks like it is because it's simple, big and does lots of damage even if it misses what it's aimed at - a bit like the spams themselves really.

Was the best solution to the cunning Iraqi anti-anti-armour-missile plan. We have spent a great deal of money developing £200k Overhead Top Attack guided weapons to take out £50k T-72s, but if a tank hides under a motorway bridge, or a tree, or a child's climbing frame, they can't do the overhead top attack thing. ITOW can, cos it flies straight and goes bang when it touches something. The reason we don't like it so much is because our missiles were invented by riflemen before the battle of Salamanca and because we put it on a platform that was procured purely because it can do loopy loops at air shows. It doesn't help that the A/C commander is too busy smelling the pretty barmaid's juices on his fingers to guide the missile in properly and the AT who's supposed to be watching how the thing flies is too busy keeping warm, eating burgers and talking sh1t in range control.