Photo Information

U.S. Marines with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d Marine Division, fire a TOW missile system over water on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Sept. 19, 2022.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Emma Gray

Target Engaged

26 Sep 2022 | Staff Sgt. Kimberlyn Patterson The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

A U.S. Marine Corps light armored vehicle makes its way down the beach. Marines with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, conduct system checks and retrieve coordinates for the target placed off the coast of Onslow Beach. Once locked on the coordinates, the command is given, “fire, fire, fire.”

In order to enhance the Marine Corps’ capability to control littoral areas with a reduced footprint, 2nd LAR conducted a test of a radio frequency missile fired from a TOW missile system on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Sept. 19, 2022.

 “The purpose of this live-fire exercise was to validate that a radio frequency missile can be employed against threats on or coming from the water surface." Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jon Osborn, 2nd LAR battalion gunner

“The radio frequency missile does not utilize a wire to communicate with the gunner, it uses a radio frequency signal between the missile and launch tube,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jon Osborn, the battalion gunner for 2nd LAR.

When utilized properly, radio frequencies give the unit more control of the missile’s trajectory by eliminating factors dictated by their surroundings.

“Once a TOW missile is launched the copper wires unspool from the missile and sag,” explained Sgt. Courtland Mabe, a Douglasville, Georgia, native and vehicle commander with 2nd LAR. “They can get caught on debris like trees or bushes. The wires, while shooting over water, can become submerged and cause the missile to be erratic.”

This ties directly back to the Marine Corps’ efforts to control littoral areas and waterways, explained Osborn. This live-fire validated that the TOW missile system can be employed to restrict access from the sea. Capabilities of this nature aid the Department of the Navy with maritime control and freedom of movement.

“The TOW missile system on the LAV allows us to load two missiles and swiftly switch from one to another,” said Mabe. “We could load different types of missiles and engage different types of targets within seconds on the battlefield.”

Every Marine and Sailor with 2nd Marine Division is continuously striving toward the mission, to generate, train and certify forces in order to conduct expeditionary operations in support of II Marine Expeditionary Force campaign objectives and crisis response tasking.