Working with the US Marine Corps, army engineers have developed a new armoured turret to provide greater protection for TOW missile gunners without heaping extra weight on vehicles.
The TOW missile takes its name from ‘Tubed-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided’. A spool of wire, thousands of meters long, unwinds while the missile is in flight. Guidance data passes through the wire in real time, allowing the gunner to accurately steer the missile to its final destination. The firing sequence takes time, and the gunner’s confidence level must remain high.
Engineers said the new TOW Objective Gunner Protection Kit (TOGPK 2.0) turret provides the right balance of armour, situational awareness and weapon manoeuvrability to fight effectively.
The design uses new armour materials that are lightweight, effective and provide stopping power without overburdening the vehicles with extra weight. The new turret system will be fielded with the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which is the Humvee replacement.
Firing the TOW Missile is not a trivial operation. First, the gunner must confirm the target with certainty. The weapon sights are then precisely aimed down range. The trigger is pulled and suddenly an intense shock wave fills the air. The missile is in flight. Now the gunner maintains full composure to patiently and steadily guide the missile directly to the target.
The Marines who operate this weapon can attest to its power. They are well-trained experts who deliver extreme amounts of energy on target.
“The TOGPK 2.0 is the latest turret that we developed jointly with the US Marine Corps,” explained Thomas Kiel, who leads the engineering design of armoured turret systems at Picatinny Arsenal. “The Marine Corps is an exceptional fighting force with very high expectations. Our close partnership with experienced warfighters during the design phase was especially helpful in meeting their needs.”
The Armaments Center has developed a number of protective turrets for military vehicles including Humvee, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and Stryker. Tens of thousands have been fielded to protect gunners against threats.
“The talent pool that exists at Picatinny is unmatched anywhere,” said Kiel. “For example, our highly skilled machinists at our Prototype Integration Facility provide tremendous support in making sure that our designs can be manufactured easily.”
Picatinny Arsenal is located in northern New Jersey and provides a wide variety of guns, ammunition, products and related services to all branches of the US military.
By Ed Lopez