The Army is looking for a vehicle-mounted missile to bust up current and future tanks on the battlefield out to 10,000 meters — more than double the distance of the missile its replacing.

The Close Combat Missile System-Heavy would replace the half-century-old, tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless-guided, or TOW, missile currently in use.

The Army uses the TOW on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and on TOW-dedicated Humvees, and it wants whatever replaces the TOW to fit within the same space restrictions so that it can go on any Bradley replacement coming in the future.

Mark Andrews, chief of the Close Capabilities Branch, said the new missile would be used much like the TOW, to defeat armor as well as counter-defilade and fortified positions. He spoke at the annual industry days conference of the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate out of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, April 7.

The new missile will need to reach those farther distances but also be able to strike at shorter ranges, he said.

“We want it armed early, we don’t want to wait 1,000 or 2,000 meters for the missile to arm. We want to get it at less than 100 meters,” Andrews said.

The process of firing the missile must be versatile, he said. They want to use command line-of-sight, fire and forget, and both lock on before launch and lock on after launch.

Andrews said they also want the new missile to be able to target from a drone feed, a laser designator, or even fire to a box area then find the target itself.

And it has to stay low.

It must operate below 3,000 feet above ground level. That way, tactical units won’t have to clear airspace to fire it.

In a similar session on maneuver requirements, Capt. Ari Perril said the CCMS-H would support the direct firefight against armor at the company or troop level, but also help shape operations at the battalion or brigade level.

The missile will need to be able to defeat future active protection systems, those systems under use or being developed that use everything from electronic “soft kills” to their own munitions systems to knock down drones, incoming missiles or other projectiles.

Those are the primary capabilities.

If those are met, the Army wants to be able to fire the missile on the move. The service would like to see the flight time reduced in comparison with the TOW, have it work without the need for GPS, and provide aided target recognition and identification.

Lastly, they’d like this new missile to be programmed for prioritizing selected targets and fire from a single vehicle or from multiple vehicles within the platoon.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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