Video: Older US Missile Targets Newer Russian Tank in Syria

Raytheon has delivered more than 675,000 TOW Weapon Systems to U.S. and allied warfighters. (Photo courtesy Raytheon)Raytheon has delivered more than 675,000 TOW Weapon Systems to U.S. and allied warfighters. (Photo courtesy Raytheon)

A new video appears to show a U.S.-supplied anti-tank missile targeting a Russian tank on the battlefield in Syria.

As reported by The Defence Blog and The Washington Post, the footage published Feb. 26 on YouTube depicts a Syrian rebel in Sheikh Aqil, a town near Aleppo, firing a BGM-71 TOW (for tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided) missile at a T-90 Russian tank, Russia’s main battle tank that entered service in the 1990s.

U.S.-backed rebels in the country have reportedly employed both the older TOW, developed in the 1970s and manufactured by Raytheon Co., as well as the newer FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile, developed in the 1990s and made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp.

The video seems to show the missile striking but not destroying the turret, possibly due to the tank’s electro-optical active protection system called “Shtora.” See the footage below.

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Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • fredjohnson

    So, the tank was undamaged. Yawn.

  • Brad

    That was a destroyed Tank.! Trust me seen that over a hundred times in Iraq! Dead! Only seen one guy get out and he was having trouble.

  • bob

    …and … it did nothing. the tank was protected by the Kontakt-5 ERA. the turret guy just got jolted and panicked.

  • bob

    Brad, you haven’t seen any T-90’s in Iraq, nor is the tank destroyed, nor had any tank in Iraq any advanced defense systems…

  • bob

    to the author: “Shtora”(“Curtain”) is an infrared obfuscation system — it does absolutely NOTHING against the manually guided TOWs since they are not a heat-seeking missile.

  • MyCatsLeftPaw

    Probably a firepower kill (gun/sighting system knocked out)… not bad for the older missile.

  • Pat

    I used to be an assistant TOW gunner years ago. Shaped charge warheads only punch a small diameter hole through armor. We’re not talking about a 50 pound Maverick or Hellfire warhead here.

  • Ezra

    We don’t need another war where we are not needed, not wanted, not supported by UN (who never support the USA once the fighting starts anyway). Let Russia drain their resources fighting the eternal conflict. We’re still doing that on at least three large scale fronts elsewhere with our only actual ally seeming to be S. Korea.

  • James Hultman

    Using tanks in battles where control of the skies is an exercise in futility. Between air strikes and anti-tank missiles, a tank is just about a sitting duck.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    Does the footage shown here definitively determine whether the ERA defeated the missile warhead? Would that version of TOW have a single or a tandem warhead?

  • Malakie

    Looks like the APS system took out the TOW to me.. someone in the tank panicked and jumped out but I do not see any indication that tank was even hit except for shrapnel from the blast.