Infantry Drills

FM 3-21.8 – Appendix B – Shoulder-Launched Munitions and Close Combat Missile Systems

Appendix B

Shoulder-Launched Munitions and
Close Combat Missile Systems

Shoulder-launched munitions (SLM) and Close Combat Missile Systems (CCMS) are employed by the Infantry platoon to destroy enemy field fortifications or disable enemy vehicles at ranges from 15 to 3,750 meters. They can engage targets in assault, support-by-fire, and defensive roles, and are the Infantry platoon’s highest casualty-producing organic weapons when used against armored enemy vehicles. This appendix addresses SLM and CCMS use by the Infantry platoon and discusses their capabilities and limitations.


section i — MUNITIONS

B-1.       SLM and CCMS are used against field fortifications, enemy vehicles, or other similar enemy targets. SLM are issued to Infantry Soldiers as rounds of ammunition in addition to their assigned weapons. While Javelins are organic to the Infantry weapons squad, tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missile weapon systems are found in the assault platoons in the Infantry battalion’s weapon company. This section discusses the specific types of SLM and CCMS the Infantry platoon or squad will employ. Section II discusses their employment considerations. Section III discusses safety. For complete information read FM 3-23.25, Shoulder Launched Munitions; FM 3-22.37, Javelin Medium Antiarmor Weapon System; FM 3-22.34, Tow Weapon System; and FM 3-22.32, Improved Target Acquisition System, M41.

Shoulder-Launched Munitions

B-2.       SLM include the M136 AT4; the M72A3 light antiarmor weapon (LAW) and improved M72A7 LAW; and the XM141 bunker defeat munition (BDM). The XM141 has also been referred to as the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon-disposable (SMAW-D). Table B-1 lists select SLM specifications.

B-3.       All SLM are lightweight, self-contained, single-shot, disposable weapons that consist of unguided free flight, fin-stabilized, rocket-type cartridges packed in expendable, telescoping launchers (except the AT4 which does not telescope) that also serve as storage containers. The only requirement for their care is a visual inspection. SLM can withstand extreme weather and environmental conditions, including arctic, tropical, and desert climates.

B-4.       SLM increase the lethality and survivability of the Infantry Soldier and provide him a direct fire capability to defeat enemy personnel within armored platforms. BDM provides the Soldier a direct fire capability to defeat enemy personnel located within field fortifications, bunkers, caves, masonry structures, and lightly armed vehicles and to suppress enemy personnel in lightly armored vehicles.

B-5.       The individual Soldier will use SLM to engage threat combatants at very close ranges—across the street or from one building to another. The Soldier may employ SLM as a member of a support- by-fire element to incapacitate threat forces that threaten the assault element. When the assault element clears a building, the leader may reposition the SLM gunner inside to engage a potential counterattack force.

Table B-1. Shoulder-launched munitions.

FIELD MANUAL FM 3-23.25 FM 3-23.25 FM 3-23.25 FM 3-23.25

6.7 kg

5.5 lbs

2.5 kg

8.0 lbs

3.6 kg

15.7 lbs

7.2 kg





102.0 cm



67 cm

100 cm


75.5 cm

98 cm


79.2 cm

137.1 cm

CALIBER 84-mm 66-mm 60-mm 83-mm

950 f/s

144.8 m/s

475 f/s

200 m/s

656 f/s

217 m/s

712 f/s


-40° to 140° F

-40° to 60° C

-40° to 140° F

-40° to 60° C

-40° to 140° F

-32° to 49° C

-20° to 120° F


200 m


165 m

220 m 500 m
MAXIMUM RANGE 2,100 m 1,000 m 1,400 m 2,000 m


10 m


25 m


15 m


M136 AT4

B-6.       The M136 AT4 is a lightweight, self-contained, SLM designed for use against the improved armor of light armored vehicles. It provides lethal fire against light armored vehicles, and has some effect on most enemy field fortifications.


B-7.       The AT4 is a round of ammunition with an integral, rocket-type cartridge. The cartridge consists of a fin assembly with tracer element; a point detonating fuze; and a high-explosive antitank (HEAT) warhead (Figure B-1).


Figure B-1. M136 AT4 launcher and HEAT cartridge.

M72-Series Light Antitank Weapon (LAW)

B-8.       The M72 LAWs used by Infantry platoons today are the M72A3 and M72A7. They are lightweight and self-contained SLM consisting of a rocket packed in a launcher (Figure B-2). They are man-portable, and may be fired from either shoulder. The launcher, which consists of two tubes, one inside the other, serves as a watertight packing container for the rocket and houses a percussion-type firing mechanism that activates the rocket.

Figure B-2. M72A3 LAW.


B-9.       The M72A3 contains a nonadjustable propelling charge and a 66-mm rocket. Every M72A3 has an integral HEAT warhead in the rocket’s head (or body) section (Figure B-3). Although the M72A3 is mainly employed as an antiarmor weapon, it may be used with limited success against secondary targets such as gun emplacements, pillboxes, buildings, or light vehicles.


Figure B-3. M72A3 LAW 66-mm high-explosive antiarmor rocket.

Improved M72A7 LAW

B-10.    The M72A7 is the Improved LAW currently employed by Infantry platoons. It is a compact, lightweight, single-shot, disposable weapon optimized to defeat lightly armored vehicles at close combat ranges (Figure B-4). The M72A7 offers enhanced capabilities beyond that of the original M72-series. The Improved M72 consists of a 60mm unguided rocket prepackaged at the factory in a telescoping, throw-away launcher. The system performance improvements include a higher velocity rocket motor that extends the weapon effective range, increased lethality warhead, lower and more consistent trigger release force, rifle-type sight system, and better overall system reliability and safety. The weapon contains a 60-mm rocket and an integral HEAT warhead. The warhead is designed to penetrate 150 millimeters of homogenous armor and is optimized for maximum fragmentation behind light armor, Infantry fighting vehicle(s) (IFV), and urban walls.


Figure B-4. Improved M72A7 LAW with rocket.

XM141 Bunker Defeat Munition (SMAW-D)

B-11.    The XM141 BDM was developed to defeat enemy bunkers and field fortifications (Figure B-5). The XM141 is a disposable, lightweight, self-contained, man-portable, shoulder-fired, high explosive multipurpose munition.

Figure B-5. XM141 bunker defeat munition.


B-12.    The XM141 utilizes the 83-mm high explosive dual purpose (HEDP) assault rocket (Figure B-6). The 83-mm HEDP assault rocket warhead consists of a dual mode fuze, and 2.38 pounds of A-3 explosive.

B-13.    Warhead function, in quick or delay mode, is automatically determined by the fuze when the rocket impacts a target. The XM141 is fired at hard or soft targets without any selection steps required by the gunner. This automatic feature assures that the most effective kill mechanism is employed. Warhead detonation is instantaneous when impacting a hard target, such as a brick or concrete wall or an armored vehicle. Impact with a softer target, such as a sandbagged bunker, results in a fuze time delay that permits the rocket to penetrate into the target before warhead detonation.

B-14.    The XM141 BDM can destroy bunkers, but is not optimized to kill the enemy soldiers within masonry structures in urban terrain or armored vehicles. The XM141 BDM can penetrate masonry walls, but multiple rounds may be necessary to deliver sufficient lethality against enemy personnel behind the walls.

B-15.    The XM141 has been used with great success in destroying personnel and equipment in enemy bunkers, field fortifications, and caves in recent operations.


Figure B-6. XM141 high-explosive dual purpose assault rocket.

Close Combat Missile Systems

B-16.    CCMS are used primarily to defeat main battle tanks and other armored combat vehicles. In the current force, this category of weapons includes the TOW and the Javelin. The TOW and Javelin provide overmatch antitank fires during the assault and provide extended range capability for engaging armor during both offense and defense. These systems have a moderate capability against bunkers, buildings, and other fortified targets commonly found during combat in urban areas.  The TOW’s  bunker buster round is capable of destroying the majority of urban targets.


B-17.    The Javelin is a fire-and-forget, shoulder-fired, man-portable CCMS that consists of a reusable M98A1 command launch unit (CLU) and a round (Figure B-7). The CLU houses the daysight, night vision sight (NVS), controls, and indicators. The round consists of the missile, the launch tube assembly (LTA), and the battery coolant unit (BCU). The LTA serves as the launch platform and carrying container for the missile. See FM 3-22.37 for complete information regarding the Javelin’s technical specifications, care, maintenance, operation, gunnery skills training, training aids, and safety.

B-18.    The Javelin CCMS’ primary role is to destroy enemy armored vehicles out to 2,000 meters. The Javelin can be employed in a secondary role of providing fire support against point targets such as bunkers and crew-served weapons positions. In addition, the Javelin CLU can be used alone as an aided vision device for reconnaissance, security operations, and surveillance. When Bradley fighting vehicles are part of a combined-arms team, the Javelin becomes a secondary antiarmor weapons system. It supports the fires of tanks and TOWs, covers secondary armor avenues of approach, and provides observation posts with an antiarmor capability. The Javelin gunner should be able to engage up to three targets in two minutes, making him very effective against any armor threat.

Figure B-7. Javelin close combat missile system.

Command Launch Unit

B-19.    The M98A1 CLU is the reusable portion of the Javelin system. It contains the controls and indicators. The CLU provides further utility to the Infantry platoon by allowing accurate surveillance out to two kilometers in both day and night. CLUs have been used to spot and destroy enemy snipers in hidden positions over 1,000 meters away.

B-20.    Tables B-2 through B-4 list the Javelin’s capabilities and features, the physical characteristics of the CLU, and the physical characteristics of the round.


Table B-2. Javelin capabilities and features.

Javelin Missile System Surface attack guided missile and M98A1 command launch unit
Type of System Fire and forget
Crew One- to three-Soldier teams based on TO&E
Missile modes Top attack (default)
Direct attack
Ranges Top attack mode minimum effective engagement:
150 meters
Direct attack mode minimum effective engagement range:
65 meters
Maximum effective engagement range (direct attack and top attack modes): 2,000 meters
Flight Time About 14 seconds at 2,000 meters
Backblast Area


Primary danger zone extends out 25 meters at a 60‑degree (cone-shaped) angle
Caution zone extends the cone-shaped area out to 100 meters
Firing From Inside Enclosures Minimum room length: 15 feet
Minimum room width: 12 feet
Minimum room height: 7 feet


Table B-3. Physical characteristics of the command launch unit.

M98A1 Command Launch Unit With battery, carrying bag, and cleaning kit
Weight: 14.16 lb. (6.42 kg)
Length: 13.71 in (34.82 cm)
Height: 13.34 in (33.88 cm)
Width: 19.65 in (49.91 cm)
Sights Daysight
Magnification: 4X
Field-of-view (FOV): 4.80° x 6.40°
Night Vision Sight
Wide field-of-view (WFOV) magnification: 4.2X
WFOV: 4.58° x 6.11°
Narrow field-of-view (NFOV) magnification: 9.2X
NFOV: 2.00° x 3.00° (approximately)
Battery Type Lithium Sulfur Dioxide (LiSO2) BA-5590/U (Nonrechargeable)
Number required: 1
NSN: 6135-01-036-3495
Weight: 2.2 lbs. (1.00 kg)
Life: 4.0 hrs below 120°F  (49°C)
3.0 hrs between 50°F to 120°F (10°C to 49°C)
1.0 hrs between -20°F to 50°F (-49°C to 10°C)
0.5 hrs above 120°F  (49°C)


Table B-4. Physical characteristics of the round.

Complete Round

(Launch tube assembly with missile and BCU)

Weight: 35.14 lb. (15.97 kg)
Length: 47.60 in (120.90 cm)
Diameter with end caps: 11.75 in (29.85 cm)
Inside diameter: 5.52 in (14.00 cm)
Battery Coolant Unit Weight: 2.91 lb. (1.32 kg)
Length: 8.16 in (20.73 cm)
Width: 4.63 in (11.75 cm)
Battery type: lithium, nonrechargeable
Battery life: 4 min of BCU time
Battery coolant gas: argon


B-21.    The Javelin missile consists of the guidance section, the mid-body section, the warhead, the propulsion section, and the control actuator section. A discussion of the guidance section and warhead follows.

Guidance Section

B-22.    The guidance section provides target tracking and flight control signals. It is the forward section of the missile and includes the seeker head section and the guidance electronics unit.

Warhead Section

B-23.    The Javelin missile uses a dual charged warhead (Figure B-8) that contains a precursor charge and main charge.

– Precursor Charge. The precursor charge is an HE antitank shaped charge. Its purpose is to cause reactive armor on the target to detonate before the main charge reaches the armor. Once the reactive armor is penetrated, the target’s main hull is exposed to the warhead’s main charge. If the target is not equipped with reactive armor, the precursor provides additional explosives to penetrate the main armor.

– Main Charge. The main charge is the second charge of a dual-charge warhead and is also an HE antitank shaped charge. The primary warhead charge is designed to penetrate the target’s main armor to achieve a target kill.


Figure B-8. Javelin missile warhead.

Capabilities and Limitations

B-24.    The Javelin has some unique capabilities that provide the unit with an effective antiarmor weapon system. However, the Infantry leader should also understand the system’s limitations in order to effectively employ this system (Table B-5).


Table B-5. Javelin capabilities and limitations.

  Capabilities Limitations
Firepower ·   Maximum effective range is 2,000 meters.

·   Fire-and-forget capability. Missile imaging infrared (I2R) system gives missile ability to guide itself to the target when launched by the gunner.

·   Two missile flight paths:

§    Top attack – impacts on top of target.

§    Direct attack – impacts on front, rear, or flank of target.

·   Gunner can fire up to three missiles within 2 minutes.

·   Dual-shaped charge warhead can defeat any known enemy armor.

·   NVS sees little degradation of target image.

·   Countermeasures used by enemy are countered by the NVS filter.

·   CLU sight cannot discriminate targets past 2,000 meters.

·   NVS cool-down time is from 2.5 to 3.5 minutes.

·   Seeker’s cool-down time is about 10 seconds.

·   BCU life, once activated, is only about 4 minutes.

·   FOV can be rendered useless during limited visibility conditions (rain, snow, sleet, fog, haze, smoke, dust, and night). Visibility is limited by the following:

§    Day FOV relies on daylight to provide the gunner a suitable target image; limited visibility conditions may block sun.

§    NVS uses the infrared naturally emitted from objects.Infrared crossover is the time at both dawn and dusk that terrain and targets are close enough in temperature to cause targets to blend in with their surroundings.

§    Natural clutter occurs when the sun heats objects to a temperature close enough to surrounding terrain that it causes a target to blend in with terrain.

§    Artificial clutter occurs when there are man-made objects that emit large amounts of infrared (for example, burning vehicles).

§    Heavy fog reduces the capability of the gunner to detect and engage targets.

·   Flight path of missile is restricted in wooded, mountainous, and urban terrain.

·   Gunner must have line of sight for the seeker to lock onto a target.

Maneuver ·   Man-portable.

·   Fire-and-forget capability allows gunner to shoot and move before missile impact.

·   Soft launch capability allows it to be fired from inside buildings and bunkers.

·   Maneuverable over short distances for the gunners.

·   Weight of Javelin makes maneuvering slow over long distances.

·   The Javelin round is bulky and restricts movement in heavily-wooded or vegetative terrain.

Protection ·   Passive infrared targeting system used to acquire lock-on cannot be detected.

·   Launch motor produces a small signature.

·   Fire-and-forget feature allows gunner to take cover immediately after missile is launched.

·   Gunner must partially expose himself to engage the enemy.

·   CLU requires a line of sight to acquire targets.

tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missile weapon system

B-25.    The Infantry TOW weapon system consists of the Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS) launcher, which has tracking and control capabilities, and the missile, which is encased in a launch container. The launcher is equipped with self-contained, replaceable units.

B-26.    The TOW is designed to destroy enemy tanks, fortifications, and other materiel targets. Its line-of-sight launcher initiates, tracks, and controls the missile’s flight through command-link wire-transmitted guidance signals. It can be employed in all weather conditions as long as the gunner can see the target through the ITAS. The TOW also provides a long-range assault capability against heavily fortified bunkers, pillboxes, and gun emplacements.

B-27.    The current versions of the TOW missile can destroy targets at a minimum range of 65 meters and a maximum range of 3,750 meters. The TOW 2B missile can destroy targets at a minimum range of 200 meters and a maximum range of 3,750 meters. TOW missiles in development are being produced to effectively engage enemy targets out to 4,500 meters.

Missile System Configurations and Types

B-28.    The TOW CCMS consists of multiple configurations with numerous types of missiles. These configurations mainly consist of minor modified work orders that are transparent to the operator and are continually updated. All configurations use the same basic airframe, aerodynamic control system, command-link wire, and missile electronics designs. The current missile types are listed below.

– Improved TOW. The ITOW missile has an improved 5-inch warhead from the original TOW missile that includes extended probes for greater standoff and penetration. It can destroy targets at a minimum range of 65 meters and a maximum range of 3,750 meters.

– TOW 2. The TOW 2 missile has a full-caliber 6-inch warhead that includes an extended probe. In addition to the infrared radiator of the ITOW missile, TOW 2 has a second infrared radiator to provide hardened system performance against battlefield obscurants and countermeasures. The second radiator is called the thermal beacon and provides link compatibility with the electro-optical infrared nightsight, which is part of the TOW 2 launcher system.

– TOW 2A. The TOW 2A adds a small explosive charge in the tip of the extended probe that causes enemy reactive armor to detonate prematurely, thus allowing the TOW 2A’s warhead to penetrate the main armor.

– TOW 2B. The TOW 2B has an entirely different warhead and kill mechanism than the previous TOW missiles. It is a top-attack missile (fly over/shoot down) that defeats enemy armor at its most vulnerable point¾the top deck of the turret and hull. The TOW 2B has a tandem warhead that fires two explosively formed projectiles down through the thin upper deck armor of the enemy vehicle. The gunner tracks the target the same as any other TOW missile with the crosshairs on center mass, but the missile automatically flies 2.25 meters above the line of sight (LOS). When the missile senses that it is directly above the target (by means of the target’s shape and magnetic field), it automatically fires its warhead. The TOW 2B missile can destroy targets at a minimum range of 288 meters when fired from the ground mount and 200 meters when fired from the HMMWV or BFV. The TOW 2B has a maximum range of 3,750 meters whether ground- or vehicle-mounted.

– TOW 2B GEN 1. The TOW 2B GEN 1 is similar to the TOW 2B but includes the addition of the GEN 1 Counter Active Protection System (CAPS), which is used to defeat enemy active protection systems.

– TOW 2B Aero. The TOW 2B Aero is an extended range version of the TOW 2B missile with an aerodynamic nose and has an effective range of 4,500 meters (Figure B-9). This longer range (compared to the 3,750 meter range of the previous TOW missiles) allows a TOW crew to fire well beyond the weapons range of its targeted vehicle.

–  TOW 2B Aero With GEN 1, 2, and 3A CAPS. These versions of TOW 2B Aero have the addition of different generations of CAPS to defeat an enemy target’s active protection system, allowing the TOW 2B missile to successfully engage any armored vehicle up to 4,500 meters (Figure B-9).

– TOW Bunker Buster. The TOW Bunker Buster (BB) replaces the TOW 2A warhead with a fragmenting bulk charge for non-armor targets (Figure B-10). The TOW BB has a range of 3,750 meters. Its missile is capable of defeating bunkers, breaching masonry walls, and engaging targets in support of urban operations.


Figure B-9. TOW 2B Aero missile with identification.


Figure B-10. TOW bunker buster (BB) missile and identification.

M41 Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS)

B-29.    The ITAS is primarily a mounted system that utilizes the M1121 HMMWV as the carrier vehicle. The M1121 HMMWV is a one-vehicle (1 1/4‑ton truck) combat system that is air transportable, versatile, maintainable, and survivable. The vehicle carries one complete launcher system, seven encased missiles, and a three-man crew. The tactical or training situation may demand that the crew dismount the carrier and employ the ITAS in the dismounted or tripod configuration.

B-30.     The M41 ITAS fires all existing and future versions of the TOW family of missiles. The ITAS provides for the integration of both the day sight and NVS into a single housing and for automatic boresighting. It has embedded training (for sustainment training) and advanced built-in test/built-in-test equipment (BIT/BITE), which provides fault detection and isolation.

B-31.    The automatic missile tracking and control capabilities of the ITAS provide a high first-round-hit probability. To operate the system, the gunner places the track gates on the target, fires the missile, and centers the crosshairs on the target image until missile impact. The optical tracking and command functions within the system guide the missile to the target as long as the gunner keeps the crosshairs on target.

B-32.    The ITAS provides the Infantry platoon with advanced optics during daylight and limited visibility to aid in surveillance and target acquisition in both defensive and offensive operations.

B-33.    The ITAS can be vehicle-mounted or ground‑emplaced (tripod‑mounted) for operation. Missiles can be launched from either operational mode. The entire system can be carried by a single crew for short distances. Moving it over long distances without the vehicle will require two crews, which causes two systems to be out of operation at the same time. The vehicle-mounted launcher is more mobile and can be quickly prepared for use. The launcher can be assembled and disassembled without the use of tools.


section iI — Employment Considerations

B-34.    The objective of the Army’s warfighting doctrine is to concentrate decisive combat power at the right time and place, by massing fires rather than by massing forces, and by presenting the enemy with multiple threats. This section discusses SLM and CCSM employment considerations. A lethal mix of CCMs and SLM provide the Infantry unit with the flexibility to employ multiple systems designed to deliver maximum direct fire lethality and destroy enemy formations at both long range and in close combat. At close combat range (15-300 meters), SLM provide Soldiers with the ability to deliver direct fire lethality at very close proximity to the enemy. At extended range (300-4,500 meters), a mix of Javelin and TOW provides the Infantry leader with overwhelming combat overmatch. These weapons serve as key components by applying overlapping and interlocking fires to achieve synergy and mutual support for his maneuver force.

B-35.    For a better understanding of how SLM and CCMS fit into the Infantry platoon’s fire plan, see Chapter 3.

Urban Operations and field fortifications

B-36.    Operations in complex terrain and urban environments alter the basic nature of close combat. History tells us that engagements are more frequent and occur more rapidly when engagement ranges are close. Studies and historical analyses have shown that only 5 percent of all targets are more than 100 meters away. About 90 percent of all targets are located 50 meters or less from the identifying Soldier. Few personnel targets will be visible beyond 50 meters. Engagements usually occur at 35 meters or less.

B-37.    Soldiers employ SLM in the short, direct fire, close-quarter engagement range of close combat. Their use is preferable in urban areas where other direct fire (M1 Abrams and M2/M3 BFV) and indirect fire systems (artillery and mortars) and CAS are incapable of operating due to risks of fratricide and collateral damage. In close combat, Soldiers employ SLM against a wide variety of targets. These include: personnel armed with individual and crew served weapons fighting from armored platforms (T-72s, BTRs, BRDMs); light armored personnel carriers and Infantry fighting vehicles (BMP1-3 and M113); modified personnel/Infantry vehicles; lightly armed vehicles; and enemy in fortified positions, behind walls, inside caves and masonry buildings, and within earthen bunkers.

B-38.    CCMS teams provide overwatching antitank fires during the attack of a built-up area. They are best employed in these types of areas along major thoroughfares and in upper floors of buildings or roofs to attain long-range fields of fire. Because the minimum engagement distance limits firing opportunities in the confines of densely built-up areas, CCMS may not be the weapon of choice in the urban environment (FM 3-06.11). Urban area hazards include, fires caused by both friendly and enemy forces that may cause target acquisition and lock-on problems, clutter on the battlefield that may cause lock-on problems, and line-of-sight communications that may be limited by structures. CCMS unique flight path forces the gunner to think in three dimensions. Other urban environment hazards include overhead obstacles such as street signs, light poles, and wires, which could impede the missile’s flight path.

Shoulder-Launched Munitions in the Bunker Defeat Role

B-39.    The current inventory of the M136 AT4 and the XM141 BDM in combination with the M72-series LAW provide the Infantry squad the capability to incapacitate personnel within earth and timber bunkers, masonry buildings, and light armored vehicles.  However, neither system is fully capable of fire-from-enclosure.

B-40.    SLM that can be safely fired from an enclosure to incapacitate personnel within earth and timber bunkers, masonry buildings, and light armored vehicles are currently being developed to increase the lethality, survivability, and mobility of the SLM gunner.

Engagement Of Field Fortifications and Buildings With SLM

B-41.    The M72-series LAW and AT4 have proven to have only limited success inflicting casualties against enemy troops in field fortifications and buildings. The XM141 BDM was designed to enhance the destruction of these fortifications and enemy personnel inside them. The BDM’s warhead contains a dual mode fuse that automatically adjusts for the type of target on impact. For soft targets, such as sandbagged bunkers, the XM141 warhead automatically adjusts to delayed mode and hits the target with very high kinetic energy. The warhead is propelled through the barrier and into the fortification or building where the fuze detonates the warhead and causes much greater damage. Soldiers should not expect to severely damage fortified targets with M72 LAWs or AT4s. However, if the recommendations shown in Table B-6 are used, Soldiers may be able to gain a temporary advantage.

Table B-6. Effects of the AT4 and M72A3 LAW on field fortifications or bunkers.






Firing Port or Aperture

Rounds fired into firing ports or apertures may not have the desired effect on the enemy.  The rounds may detonate against the rear wall of the position, causing little structural damage to the position or to the equipment or personnel within, unless they are hit directly. The AT4 produces less effect than the M72A3 LAW. Coordinate fire: Fire CCM at a point 6 to 12 inches from the front edge of the firing ports in the berm. Fire small arms at the bunker or position to prevent personnel within from returning fire.
Berm Firing at the berm causes the round to detonate outside the fighting position or inside the berm itself, creating only dust, a small hole in the berm, or minor structural damage to the position, but little damage to personnel or equipment unless they are hit directly. The AT4 produces less effect than the M72A3 LAW. Firing the AT4 and LAW at berms should be avoided because of the negligible effects.
Window The round may travel completely through the structure before detonating. If not, it creates dust and causes minor structural damage to the rear wall, but little damage to personnel or equipment, unless they are hit directly. The AT4 produces less effect than the M72A3 LAW. Fire 6 to 12 inches from the sides or bottom of a window. CCMs explode on contact with brick or concrete, creating an opening whose size is determined by the type of round used.
Wall The round detonates on contact, creating dust and causing a small hole and minor structural damage, but little damage to personnel or equipment, unless they are hit directly. Overpressure from the round entering the structure may temporarily incapacitate enemy personnel. The M72-series LAW may be used to create a loophole, which is a hole large enough to throw hand grenades through. The AT4 produces lesseffect than the M72-series LAW.
Corner Corners are reinforced and thus harder to penetrate than other parts of a wall. Any CCM round will detonate sooner on a corner than on a less dense surface. Detonation should occur in the targeted room, creating dust and causing overpressure, which can temporarily incapacitate personnel inside the structure near the point of detonation. The AT4 causes more overpressure than the M72-series LAW. Avoid targeting corners because of the negligible effects.

CCMS Engagement Considerations

B-42.    Urban engagement considerations for CCMS include engagement distance, thermal crossover, backblast, weapon penetration, and breaching structural walls. Details follow. TOW systems should always seek to engage at maximum range. If within 1,000 meters of an enemy, the flight time of the TOW missile would likely be greater than the flight time of a main gun tank round.

– Engagement Distance. The Javelin missile has a minimum engagement distance (150 meters in the attack mode and 65 meters in the direct attack mode), which limits its use in built-up areas. The TOW 2B has a minimum range of 200 meters and a maximum range of 3,750, which limits its use in built-up areas.

– Crossover. Sometimes the Javelin seeker or TOW round will not be able to distinguish between the background and the target because the two have the same temperature (crossover).

– Time. When a gunner comes across a target of opportunity, he may not be able to take advantage of it. The cool down time of the Javelin’s NVS is 2.5 to 3.5 minutes. Javelin seeker cool down takes about 10 seconds. Once the BCU is activated, the gunner has a maximum of 4 minutes to engage the target before the battery coolant unit is depleted.

– Backblast. The soft launch capability of the Javelin enables the gunner to fire from inside buildings because there is little overpressure or flying debris.

– Weapon Penetration. The dual charge Javelin warhead penetrates typical urban targets. The direct attack mode is selected when engaging targets in a building. Enemy positions or bunkers in the open closer than 150 meters are engaged using the direct attack mode. Positions in the open farther than 150 meters are engaged using either the top or direct attack mode, depending on the situation.

– Breaching Structural Walls. The Javelin and TOW (except for the TOW BB) are not effective when breaching structural walls. Antitank guided missiles (ATGMs) are not designed to breach structural walls effectively. All CCMS are designed to produce a small hole, penetrate armor, and deliver the explosive charge. Breaching calls for the creation of a large hole. CCMS are better used against armored vehicles or for the destruction of enemy-fortified fighting positions.

Antiarmor Role

B-43.    In the past decade, there has been a revolution in armor technology. Research and new developments have come from Europe, the United States, and Israel. These improvements are also becoming much more common in third world armies. In addition, many older tanks and other armored fighting vehicles are being retrofitted with improved armor protection. These advanced armor configurations improve the vehicles’ survivability against all weapons.  They are specifically designed to protect against HEAT warheads and essentially fall into four categories: reactive, laminated, composite, and appliqué. Improved armor types include:

– Reactive Armor. Reactive armor comes in several varieties, but the principle is essentially the same on all. The armor consists of blocks of explosives sandwiched between two metal plates and bolted on the outside of the vehicle. Small-arms and artillery shrapnel will not set off the blocks. However, when a HEAT round strikes the block, the explosive ignites and blows outwards. The blast and the moving steel plates disperse and deflect the jet of the HEAT warhead, dramatically reducing its ability to penetrate armor.

– Laminated Armor. Laminated armor consists of flat layers of steel armor plates with layers of ceramics, fiberglass, or other nonmetallic materials in between. This armor is highly effective against all types of weapons, but is difficult and expensive to manufacture. Vehicles with laminated armor are characterized by flat, slab sides, such as on the M1 Abrams and the German Leopard II.

– Composite Armor. Composite armor consists of a nonmetallic core (usually some kind of ceramic) around which the rest of the steel of the hull or the turret is molded. This is much more effective than conventional steel armor against all types of weapons, but less so than laminated armor.

– Appliqué Armor. Appliqué armor is essentially extra plates mounted or welded on top of the hull or turret of a vehicle. They can be made of any material, but are frequently made of ceramic or laminated materials. Like reactive armor, appliqué armor is an easy and cost-effective way of improving the protection of older vehicles.

Exploiting Armored Vehicle Weaknesses

B-44.    Because they are designed mainly for offensive operations against other armored vehicles (Figure B-11), armored vehicles usually have their heaviest armor in front. All vehicles are vulnerable to repeated hits on their flanks and rear, though the flank offers the largest possible target. Firers should always aim center of mass to increase the probability of a hit. The older the vehicle model, the less protection it has against SLM and CCMS. Newer versions of older vehicle models may use bolt-on (appliqué) armor to improve their survivability. Reactive armor usually covers the forward-facing portions and sides of the vehicle and can defeat shaped-charge weapons such as the SLM. When reactive armor detonates, it disperses metal fragments to 200 meters. SLM cause only a small entry hole in an armored vehicle target, though some fragmentation or spall may occur.

Figure B-11. Armored vehicle weak points.

B-45.    Natural or man-made obstacles can be used to force the armored vehicle to slow, stop, or change direction. This pause enables the firer to achieve a first-round hit. If he does not achieve a catastrophic kill on the first round, he or another firer must be ready to engage the target vehicle immediately with another round.

B-46.    The white area in Figure B-12 shows the most favorable direction of attack when the turret is facing to the front. The gray area shows the vehicle’s principal direction of fire and observation when the turret is facing to the front). Volley fires can greatly degrade the additional protection that appliqué and reactive armors provide to the target vehicle.


Figure B-12. Limited visibility of armored vehicles.

B-47.    Armored vehicle kills are classified according to the level of damage achieved (Table B-7).


Table B-7. Armored vehicle kills.

Type Of Kill

Part of Vehicle
Damaged or Destroyed

Capability After Kill

Mobility Kill Suspension (track, wheels, or road wheels) or power train (engine or transmission) has been damaged. Vehicle cannot move, but it can still return fire.
Firepower Kill Main armament has been disabled. Vehicle can still move, so it can get away.
Catastrophic Kill Ammunition or fuel storage section has been hit by more than one round. Vehicle completely destroyed.

Shoulder-Launched Munitions in the Antiarmor Role

B-48.    When Soldiers employ the M136 AT4 and M72-series LAW to defeat threat armored vehicles, it requires Soldiers to engage threat vehicles using single or paired shots. Gunners require positions that allow engagement against the flank or rear of the target vehicles. They must seek covered and concealed positions from where targets can be engaged. However, the M136 AT4 cannot be fired safely from within an enclosure because it denies the protection offered by enclosed fighting positions and masonry buildings. FM 3-23.25 advises firing the M136 AT4 and XM141 BDM from an enclosure under combat conditions only when no other tactical option exists due to the risk of both auditory and non-auditory injury.

SLM Warhead Effects on Armor

B-49.    SLM warheads have excellent armor penetration ability and lethal after-armor effects (especially the AT4 and M72A7). The extremely destructive shaped-charge explosives can penetrate more than 14 inches (35.6 centimeters) of rolled homogeneous armor (RHA). Types of warhead armor effects follow and are illustrated in Figure B-13.

– Impact. The nose cone crushes; the impact sensor activates the fuze.

– Ignition. The fuze element activates the electric detonator. The booster detonates, initiating the main charge.

– Penetration. The main charge fires and forces the warhead body liner into a directional gas jet that penetrates armor plate.

– Spalling (After-Armor Effects). The projectile fragments and incendiary effects produce blinding light and highly destructive results.

Figure B-13. Effects of SLM warheads on armor targets.

Engagement of Other Vehicles

B-50.    The M72-series LAW proves more effective against light vehicles. The M136 AT4 proves more effective against armored vehicles. Non-armored vehicles such as trucks, cars, and boats are considered soft targets. Firing along their length offers the greatest chance of a kill, because this type of shot is most likely to hit their engine block or fuel tank.

Methods OF Engagement

B-51.    The four engagement methods for SLM include single, sequence, pair, and volley firing. The leader evaluates the situation on the ground to determine which of these methods to use. Regardless of whether they are used singly or in combination, communications are needed as well. The methods of engagement are rehearsed IAW unit SOP.

Single Firing

B-52.    A single Soldier with one SLM may engage an armored vehicle, but this is not the preferred method of engagement. Several SLM are normally required to effectively kill an armored vehicle. A single gunner firing one round must hit a vital part of the target in order to do damage (Figure B-14). A single firer can engage targets out to 225 meters with the LAW, or 300 meters with the AT4 (when he knows the actual range).


Figure B-14. Single firing.

Sequence Firing

B-53.    A single firer, equipped with two or more SLM prepared for firing, engages the target. After engaging with the first round and observing the impact, the firer adjusts his point of aim. He then engages with another round until he destroys the target or runs out of rounds (Figure B-15).

Figure B-15. Sequence firing.

Pair Firing

B-54.    Two or more firers, equipped with two or more SLM prepared for firing, engage a single target. Before firing, the first firer informs the others of the estimated speed and distance to the target. If the impact of his round proves his estimate to be correct, the other firers engage the target until it is destroyed. If the impact of the round proves his estimate to be incorrect, the second firer informs the others of his own estimate, and then he engages the target. This continues until the target is destroyed or all rounds are expended (Figure B-16).

Figure B-16. Pair firing.

Volley Firing

B-55.    Two or more firers can engage a single target when the range is known. These firers engage the target at the same time on a prearranged signal such as a command, whistle, mine, or TRP. This can be the most effective means of engagement as it places the most possible rounds on one target at one time, increasing the possibility of a kill (Figure B-17).

Figure B-17. Volley firing.

TOW Countermeasures to Improved Armor

B-56.    TOW crews can expect to be issued a mix of TOW missile types on the battlefield, with widely varying capabilities. Gunners and leaders must be familiar with the different missile types and their respective capabilities. The proper type of missile must be chosen for each type of target (Table B-8).

B-57.    TOW crews must strive harder than ever to find positions where they can engage enemy vehicles from the flank. Modern tanks with reactive armor have become increasingly difficult to kill from the front.

Table B-8. Missile selection priority chart.







Tanks with appliqué armor TOW 2B TOW 2A TOW 2 ITOW
Tanks with explosive reactive armor TOW 2B TOW 2A TOW 2 ITOW
Tanks without appliqué/ reactive armor TOW 2B TOW 2A TOW 2 ITOW
Light armored personnel carriers TOW 2 TOW 2A TOW 2B ITOW
Light armored wheeled vehicles TOW 2 TOW 2A TOW 2B ITOW
Antiaircraft vehicles TOW 2 TOW 2A TOW 2B ITOW
Armored vehicles in hull defilade positions TOW 2B TOW 2A TOW 2 ITOW
Bunkers/fortifications TOW BB TOW 2 TOW 2A ITOW

Antiarmor Ambush Role

B-58.    Antiarmor ambushes are usually conducted to destroy small groups of armored vehicles, force the enemy to move more slowly and cautiously, or force the enemy into a choke point. Units conducting an antiarmor ambush can use Javelins or TOWs for this purpose. The Javelin and TOW have a slow rate of fire, so other weapons systems must be prepared to engage the vehicles while the Javelin gunners attach the CLU to new rounds or the TOW gunners load new rounds. The Javelin’s 2,000‑meter range and the TOWs 3,750 meter range allow flexibility in choosing ambush positions. In addition to fires into the kill zones, the Javelin and TOW can be employed in a security role to guard high-speed avenues of approach, to slow or stop enemy reinforcements, or to destroy vehicles attempting to flee the kill zone (Figure B-18).

Figure B-18. Antiarmor ambush.


B-59.    CCMS contribute to offensive operations by providing long-range fires that destroy enemy armor and protect the force from armored counterattacks. In the absence of armored targets, CCMS can engage enemy fortifications and hovering helicopters. CCMS are normally used in a support-by-fire role during offensive operations. The primary consideration for such employment is the availability of appropriate fields of fire and the armored threat. CCMS crews can effectively protect flanks against armored threats and can also provide overwatch for unit movement (Figure B-19).


Figure B-19. TOW supporting offensive operations.


B-60.    During planning, the leader considers the enemy armor threat, then positions antiarmor weapons accordingly to cover armor avenues of approach. He also considers the fields of fire, tracking time, and minimum engagement distance of each weapon. The section leader or squad leader selects a primary position and sector of fire for each antiarmor weapon. He also picks alternate and supplementary positions for them. Each position should allow flank fire and have cover and concealment. The leader should integrate the ITAS into his limited visibility security and observation plan. The squad leader selects the fighting position and assigns the sector of fire. Considering the fundamentals of antiarmor employment will greatly improve the crew’s survivability. ITAS crews must coordinate with adjacent units to ensure security. The TOW’s 3,750-meter maximum range makes it difficult for the enemy to engage the crew with direct fire, which forces the enemy to deploy earlier than intended. The gunner prepares a range card for his primary position. If time permits, he also prepares them for his alternate and supplementary positions (Table B-9).

B-61.    Reserve forces armed with SLM may be employed to assist counterattacks to regain key positions. They are also used to block enemy penetrations, to meet unexpected enemy thrusts, and to provide support by fire to endangered friendly units during disengagements and withdrawals. In the event defensive positions are in danger of being overrun by enemy armored vehicles, SLM may be used against armored vehicles and lightly armored vehicles posing an immediate threat, including light tanks. The maximum range provides leaders with greater flexibility in positioning each round and provides a means of achieving overlapping sectors of fire for increased survivability.

Table B-9. Personnel duties.

Tasks to be Performed


Team Leader


Integrate CCMS into the platoon tactical plan:

·         Select general weapons positions.

·         Assign sectors of fires.

·         Coordinate mutual support.

·          Coordinate with adjacent units.





Reconnoiter for and select tentative CCMS firing positions (primary, alternate, and supplementary) and routes between positions.


Supervise continual preparation and improvement of positions.



Coordinate security for the CCMS teams.


Inspect the selection of tentative firing positions, confirm or make adjustments.



Supervise preparation of range card.



Control movement of gunners between positions.



Issue fire commands to gunners.



Coordinate resupply and collection of extra rounds carried in platoon.


Identify enemy avenues of approach.


Prepare fighting position (primary, alternate, supplementary).


Prepare range card.



Designate target reference points.


Prestock rounds.



Prepare round for firing.


React to fire commands.


Engage targets.



Section IIi — Safety

B-62.    Leaders must employ SLM/CCMS to effectively minimize danger to friendly Soldiers caused by the surface danger zone (SDZ) or backblast danger zones. They must weigh the risk of firing the missile in close proximity to friendly assault forces against the need to suppress or destroy enemy fortifications or vehicles from the support-by-fire or assault position.  This section discusses SLM and CCMS safety.


B-63.    Figures B-20 through B-27 and Table B-10 illustrate surface danger zone (SDZ) and backblast danger zone information for SLM. See DA PAM 385-63, Range Safety, and FM 3-23.25, Shoulder-Launched Munitions, for more specific information regarding this and other safety-specific information.

Figure B-20. M136 AT4 backblast danger area.


Table B-10. AT4 SDZ criteria in meters.




Minimum Range to Target





Area F2

Danger Zone Depth

Caution Area Depth

84-mm HEAT M1361







9-mm Trainer, M939








1Increased dud rates may occur when firing HE (M136) at impact angles of 10 degrees or less.

2Area F is 90-degree angle (45 degrees left and right) of rearward extension of launcher target line.

3Danger zone occupation could result in fatalities or serious casualties including, severe burns, eye damage, or permanent hearing loss. The hazards are baseplate fragments, debris, fireball, high noise levels, and overpressure.

4Caution area is an extension of the primary danger area. Occupation of this area could also result in severe casualties due to backblast, debris, high noise levels, and possible baseplate fragments. Primary danger area and caution area are conditions that may not be modified.


Figure B-21. SDZ for firing AT4.


Figure B-22. SDZ area F for firing AT4.


Figure B-23. M72A2/3 LAW backblast area.


Figure B-24. Improved LAW backblast danger area.


Figure B-25. SDZ for firing Improved LAW.


Figure B-26. XM141 BDM backblast danger area.


Figure B-27. SDZ for firing XM141 BDM.

Combat Safety For All SLM

B-64.    Combat safety rules and procedures include all those that apply to training with the following modifications.

Engagement From an Enclosure

B-65.    Firing from an enclosure creates unique hazards. Therefore, before positioning Soldiers in enclosures (combat only), leaders must consider several factors that affect safety. Only in combat, when no other tactical option exists, should the M136 AT4 and XM141 be fired from an enclosure. If it must be employed this way, the enclosure must meet the following minimum requirements. The M72-series LAW has been rated safe for use from an enclosure, but only when the enclosure meets the following minimum requirements.

– Construction. The building must be sturdily constructed to reduce structural damage that would occur in a weakly constructed enclosure such as one made of wood or stucco.

– Size of Enclosure. Minimum measurements for the enclosure are as follows:

n         AT4 and XM141 – minimum room size 17 by 24 feet; minimum ceiling height 8 feet (combat only).

n         LAW – minimum room size 12 by 15 feet.

– Ventilation to the Rear and Sides. To allow for backblast, at least 20 square feet of ventilation (for a standard 3-foot by 7-foot doorway) must be provided directly behind the firer. Doors and windows should be removed beside and behind the position to increase ventilation and reduce overpressure, noise, and blast effects. On the front wall, windows and doors should be reinforced, rather than removed, because removing would draw attention to the position. Reinforcing the windows also helps protect the firer from enemy direct-fire weapons.

– Objects and Debris. Any objects or debris to the rear of the weapon must be removed to prevent them from flying around the room and possibly injuring personnel as a result of the backblast.

– Muzzle Clearance. Muzzle clearance must be at least 6 inches.

– Weapon Clearance. Properly positioning the weapons within the enclosure is vital to the safety and survival of all personnel in the enclosure. The weapons should be positioned so no walls are within 5 meters to the rear or side of the weapon.

– Non-Firing Personnel Positions. If any other Soldiers are present, they must avoid standing in corners or near walls and must remain forward of the rear of the launcher.

Engagement from a Fighting Position

B-66.    The M72-series LAW, M136 AT4, and SMAW-D can be fired from the standard Infantry fighting position. However, to increase accuracy and reduce danger to friendly Soldiers, the area to the rear of the firing position must have no walls, large trees, or other obstructions within 5 meters (5 1/2 yards). Ensuring the absence of such obstructions avoids deflection of weapon backblast onto the firer or into the position.



Individual Infantry Fighting Position. The Soldier must lean against the rear wall and ensure that the venturi or the rear of the weapon protrudes past the rear of the position.

– Two-Soldier Infantry Fighting Position. Nonfiring personnel must remain clear of the backblast area. These positions should be constructed and sited so none are located in another position’s backblast danger zone.

– Modified Firing Position. A modified firing position may be constructed to the side of the two-Soldier fighting position. Firing from a modified position reduces the possibility of injury to the firer or the other Soldier in the fighting position, while still offering the firer protection from enemy return fire.

Overhead Fire

B-67.    SLM should not be fired over the heads of friendly Soldiers, unless the Soldiers have adequate protection against direct impact or other hazards.



Figure B-28. Javelin backblast area and surface danger zone.

Firing From Enclosures

B-69.    The Javelin can be fired from inside a building. However, the room from which it is fired must be at least 7 feet high, 12 feet wide, and 15 feet deep.

– Debris. Debris and loose objects are cleared from behind the launch site when firing within a confined area.

– Venting. When possible, doors and windows are opened to allow the backblast and overpressure to escape.

– Structural Damage. Escaping gases from the missile’s first-stage motor are hot and flammable. The materials that can easily catch fire are removed before firing (for example, some types of curtains and throw rugs).

– Hearing Protection. All personnel within 25 meters of the Javelin must wear hearing protection.

– Face Shield. The face shield protects the gunner’s face. It is possible to damage the face shield absorber between the indentation and the CLU main housing. If this part of the face shield is missing, the gunner must switch from firing the Javelin with the right eye to the left eye.


B-70.    When firing from either a hasty or improved fighting position, the gunner must take into consideration obstructions directly to his front, to his rear, and to the sides of the fighting position.

Firing Limitations

E-1.       Some conditions may limit the firing and engagement capabilities of the TOW. The following information should be considered before engaging targets. (See TM 9-1425-450-12, Operator and Organizational Maintenance Manual for TOW 2 Weapon System, Guided Missile System M220A2, for updated firing limitations.)

– Firing Over Bodies of Water. Maximum and limited range firing over water varies according to missile type. If the range is less than 1,100 meters, the missile’s range is not affected. However, if it is wider than 1,100 meters it can reduce the range of the TOW. A TOW position should be as high above and as far back from the water as the tactical situation allows. The squad or section leader should analyze his sector as soon as the position is occupied to determine if water will affect the employment of the TOW.  Signals being sent through the command-link wires are shorted out when a large amount of wire is submerged in water.

– Firing Over Electrical Lines. If the command-link wires make contact with a live high‑voltage power line, personnel can be injured or control of the missile could be lost. The launcher electronics may also be damaged. In addition to power lines, other high‑voltage sources include street cars, electric train ways, and some moving target trolleys on training ranges.

– Firing in Windy Conditions. Gusty, flanking, or quartering winds can cause the launch tube to vibrate and spoil the tracking performance. The effect is similar to driving in a strong crosswind. Strong winds can move the missile around during flight, but as long as the crosshairs are kept on the center mass of the target, the weapon system itself can compensate for wind effects.

– Firing Through Smoke and Area Fires. Smoke can obscure the line of sight and hide the target when using the daysight tracker. A smooth tracking rate should be maintained as the target disappears into a smoke cloud so the missile will still be on target or very close as the vehicle goes out the other side of the smoke cloud. (This technique should be practiced during field tracking exercises.) A fire can burn through the command-link wire, causing loss of control of the missile.

– Firing From Bunkers and Buildings. In accordance with DA Pam 385-63, TOWs will not be fired from buildings, bunkers, or within 100 meters of a vertical or nearly vertical backstop without the approval of the commanding general.

– Clearance Requirements. The TOW muzzle must have at least nine inches of clearance at the end of the launch tube so the wings and control surfaces of the missile will not be damaged when they extend after clearing the launch tube. The muzzle of the launch tube must extend beyond any enclosure, window sill, or aperture. It must also have at least 30 inches of clearance between the line of sight and any obstruction from 500 to 900 meters downrange. A 30-inch line-of-sight clearance ensures a high probability the missile will not strike the ground on the way to the target (Figure B-29).

– Firing TOW Bunker Buster Missile. The missile warhead arms after launcher is between 35 and 65 meters. There is a very remote possibility of a TOW BB missile airburst 43 meters from launch platform. The probability of an inadvertent warhead detonation resulting in shrapnel injury to an exposed crewmember is also very remote. The crew is protected from shrapnel during firing from Stryker ATGM vehicles. The TOW BB is not currently fired from a HMMWV.


Figure B-29. Clearance requirements.

Surface Danger Zone

B-71.    The surface danger zone for any firing range consists of a firing area, a target area, impact area, and danger areas surrounding these locations (Figure B-30). An additional area for occupation by personnel during firings may also be required. The shape and size of the surface danger zone varies with the type of missile or rocket being fired. (Refer to DA Pam 385-63 for dimensions.)

– Primary Danger Area. The primary danger area is a 90-degree cone with a 50-meter radius. The apex of the cone is centered at the rear of the missile launcher. Serious casualties or fatalities are likely to occur to anyone in the area during firing. Hazards include launch motor blast, high noise levels, overpressure, and debris.

– Caution Area 1.  The caution area 1 extends in a radial pattern from each side of the primary danger area to the firing line with a radius of 50 meters. Permanent hearing damage could occur to personnel without adequate hearing protection in this area during firing. The hazards are high noise levels and overpressure.

– Caution Area 2.  The caution area 2 is an extension of the primary danger area with the same associated hazards and personnel protection required. The radius of this area is 75 meters.

– 200-Meter Zone. The 200-meter zone is the danger area for aerial firings 15.25 meters or more above ground level.


Figure B-30. Surface danger zone for firing basic TOW, TOW 2A, and TOW 2B missiles.

Firing Angle Limitations

B-72.    Azimuth and elevation firing angles are limited by the traversing unit, the vehicle, and other external restrictions. All elevation angles are referenced to the horizontal plane of the traversing unit. Azimuth angles are referenced to the long axis of the vehicle and depend on whether the launch tube points over the front or rear of the vehicle. The other reference line is the LOS from the TOW to the target.

B-73.    When the TOW is tripod-mounted, a 360-degree lateral track is possible, because the traversing unit is not restricted in azimuth. Mechanical stops limit the elevation angle coverage to 20 degrees below and 30 degrees above the horizontal plane. Before the missile is fired, the LOS angle should be estimated at the expected time of launch and throughout the expected missile flight time. The firing position should be changed or a different target selected if an expected line-of-sight angle exceeds the firing limitation angle.

B-74.    Firing angle limitations of TOW carriers are as illustrated in Figure B-31.

Figure B-31. M1121-mounted TOW firing angle limitations.

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