M901 Improved TOW Vehicle
Gary's Combat Vehicle Reference Guide

FM 23-34: M901-series ITV
Alternative DesignationsITV (Improved TOW Vehicle), ITOW
Country of OriginUSA
RoleAnti-tank vehicle
Date Of Introduction1978
Crew4 (squad leader, gunner, loader, driver)
Combat Weight13 tons (11.79 mt)
Ground Pressure?
Length, Overall 16.08 ft (4.90 m)
Width, Overall 8.86 ft (2.70 m)
Height, Overall 9.55 ft (2.91 m)
Height, Firing Position 11 ft (3.35 m)
Engine212 hp (158 kw) diesel
Range300 miles (483 km)
Road Speed40 mph (64 km/h)
Cross Country Speed?
Swim Speed3.6 mph (5.8 km/h)
Fording DepthAmphibious
Armor5083 Aluminum. Protection from small-arms fire (7.62mm and smaller) and fragmentation munitions
Applique ArmorAnti-mine armor on bottom of chassis
Explosive Reactive ArmorAvailable
Active Protective SystemN/A
NBC Protection SystemN/A
Smoke EquipmentTwo 4-tube M243 smoke grenade launchers on front hull
Type Mount Typical Ammo Load
M27 cupola with TOW launcher head ("Hammerhead").
SACLOS; wire-guided
Turret; 2 launch tubes; manual loading 12: 2 on launcher + 10 stowed.
7.62mm M60 machine gun Pintel-mounted on a traversing rail 2,000
Fire Control System?
Main Gun Stabilization?
Infrared Searchlight?


The M901-series improved TOW vehicle ITV has a high first-round hit probability with a rapid engagement rate. It provides the crew and weapon system protection from small-arms fire and artillery fragments.

The squad leader has about a 270° range of view through the squad leader's periscope (SLP), which enhances the ITV's capability to operate from concealed and full-hull defilade positions. The turret launcher has the capability for day and night acquisition and tracking of targets, and it provides firing coverages of 360° in azimuth and +35° to -30° in elevation.

The ITV has stowage provisions for tripod-mounted TOW components configured so the ground system can be dismounted and set up in three to five minutes. The M901 employs the M220A1 TOW and the M901A1 employs the M220A2 TOW 2.

The hydraulically and electrically powered turret can be operated manually. An elevating mechanism positions the launcher platform into reload and elevated positions. The loader has side and overhead protection during loading, which requires 40 seconds.

The Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS) was developed for TOW 2 and later. It includes a laser rangefinder, increased acquisition range, improved night capabilities (second-generation thermal channel), an automatic boresight and greater hit probability.

M243 Smoke Grenade Launcher
Eight smoke grenades detonate in about a 105° arc 98 feet (30 meters) from the vehicle. The smoke cloud is about 30 feet (9 meters) high and lasts about one to three minutes, depending on wind. The front of the vehicle is facing the area where the smoke is to conceal the movement of the vehicle.
FM 23-34: M901 smoke pattern

M901 Replaced
The Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army approved the replacement of the M901 ITV with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle in mechanized infantry battalions. While this change provides a much greater improvement in mobility, survivability, and firepower over the M901, the basic mission of the Bradley-equipped company remains the same.


M901, M901A1
The platform vehicle is the M113A1. Launcher variants have been upgraded with new turrets and launcher heads to fit the later TOW variants, such as ITOW, TOW 2, 2A and 2B.
Launcher vehicle fitted for TOW 2.
Uses a modified M113A3 as the platform vehicle.
A variety of M113-based vehicles have incorporated TOW "hammerhead" launcher for use as ATGM launcher vehicles. These include the Italian VCC-1-based launcher vehicle, and the Dutch Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV)-based launcher vehicle.

More M901 Art

M901-series, side
FM 23-34: Controls