Monthly Archives: July 2015

Resurrected Weapons: ADATS

The US Army has never been really big on air defense. This is mostly because the USAF has been really good at establishing and maintaining air superiority. However, in the 80s, the US Army decided to stop taking this for granted. They made the excellent Stinger MANPADS and the exceptional Patriot long range missile system. There’s a gap between these two systems, and to fill it, they collaborated with Canada on ADATS. This system entered Canadian service in 1989, but the US Army version ended up going overbudget and was cancelled1 as a part of those early-90s defense cuts that I love to hate. Let’s take a look at the system and see if it was any good.

The ADATS missile is a short-range system. It’s 2.05 meters long, 152mm in diameter, and has a finspan of 50cm. It weighs 51 kg. It’s capable of a top speed of Mach 3 and has a range of about 10 km. These numbers are similar to those of Tor, though Tor is rather larger and has a bit more range. In terms of tasking, both missiles have a similar primary role and guidance mechanism. Tor is radio command guided, but ADATS is laser beam riding. Similar guidance principles, different methods. Interestingly, ADATS makes more use of electro-optical targeting systems. Like TOR, it has a 3D air search radar with a range of 25 km that can track 10 targets simultaneously. ADATS uses an infrared imager to select targets and engage them. Tor has an electro-optical system as well, but it’s more or less a backup; normally Tor uses an engagement radar.

So Tor has better range, and ADATS can operate in “low profile” mode a bit better, since it’s less radar focused. The more obvious difference can be seen by looking at the warhead, or expanding the acronym. ADATS stats for Air Defense Anti Tank System, and it has a curious warhead that combines a fragmentation effect with a shaped charge effect. I’m honestly not sure why they did this–it adds a bunch of cost and gives a capability that, while cool, doesn’t seem to be prima facie useful all that often. Also, given how much armor MBTs tend to carry, I’m not sure how effective it would be on the off chance an enemy tank platoon stumbles upon a SHORAD unit. It seems like it would be easier to just issue some Javelin missiles to the air defense units for close-in protection. Or just have some regular Bradleys handy.

I’m also a little curious as to what the dual-effect warhead added to the cost of both the project and to the costs of the individual missiles themselves. Again, a simple fragmentation warhead seems like it would have helped a lot in terms of costs, but I can’t do a counterfactual comparison.

Which brings us to the verdict. This is hard. On the one hand, ADATS is a pretty cool system. On the other, I can’t help but think that a simpler, antiaircraft only system makes more sense. Plus, it’s currently competing with things like SL-AMRAAM, which near as I can reckon is roughly the same cost and provides proven kinematics, better range, and a fancy active seeker. SL-AMRAAM in the Bradley-ADATS vehicle/turret unit would be pretty cool though. There’s probably some cool wargaming one could do to see which guidance system would be more effective.

Verdict: Referred back to Ordnance Board for further analysis.2

1.) Why the Canadians got theirs but we didn’t is beyond me. Seems if it could enter Canadian service, the missile should have been fine. Yes, the Canadians integrated it on an M113, but putting that turret assembly on a Bradley hull isn’t too hard.
2.) See? I don’t always approve these.

Skypirates: a zeppelin aircraft carrier construction ruleset

Every zeppelin which has played a major role in Skypirates to date (so far, only Inconstant and Arys, where parvusimperator’s characters are based) has been designed in accordance with a fixed set of rules. We appreciate the verisimilitude this lends proceedings, for one; for another, we just really like rules for designing things. Ask parvusimperator about tanks or IFVs sometime1.

But not now. We have zeppelin rules to cover. I believe parvusimperator, to whom I owe the credit for these, believes he originally stole them from some Germans2, which is apropos. They were designed for tabletop RPG rules system Savage Worlds, which I wholeheartedly recommend if you’re looking for something opposite GURPS on the fun-GURPS axis. In traditional RPG fashion, round in the least favorable manner unless otherwise stated.

These are primarily construction rules. They were borrowed for a Savage Worlds campaign that never happened, and so the portions of the rules pertaining to acquisition and combat were never really fleshed out. If you want to use them, you’ll have to do some innovation. (If you do, let us know! We’ll put them up here for the benefit of posterity.)


Length(m)    Width(m)    Hexes     Lifting/Payload (t)
300                50      6x1                 425/275
350                60      7x1                 670/435
400                65    8x1.5                1000/650
450                75    9x1.5                1425/925

The listed payload assumes helium as a lifting gas, military-spec internals (protected against enemy fire), and a single keel, and is 65% of the lifting capacity, rounded to the nearest 5t. For hydrogen lifting gas, add 5%. For civilian-spec internals (not protected against enemy fire), add 5%. For triple keels in the style of USS Akron and USS Macon, which permit internal engine mountings, subtract 5%. (That is to say, the maximum payload achievable is 75%, using hydrogen lifting gas and civilian internals, and the most durable build achievable is helium, milspec, and a triple keel.)

Take the product expressed in the Hexes column, and write it down as your hex-volume.

1 ton & 1 crew (slow diesel engine),
3 tons & 1 crew (normal diesel engine),
5 tons & 2 crew (fast diesel engine)

One engine pod is needed per every hex a zeppelin is long, rounded down to the nearest even number.

Gun Turrets
1/2 ton & 2 crew for cal. 30 MG
1 ton & 2 crew for cal. 40 and 50 MG
2 tons & 2 crew for cal. 60 and 70 MG
2 tons & 1 crew for flak cannon

Machine guns may be single or double turrets. Their requirements are the same, excepting acquisition costs. Turreted flak emplacements may only hold a single gun. Add a +3 modifier to shock rolls for the gunshield.

Bow/Stern Turrets
2 tons & 2 crew for cal. 60 and 70 MG
2 tons & 1 crew for flak cannon

The bow/stern mounts can hold one gun mount or one rocket mount or one aerial minelayer. Only one thing.

Broadside Guns
2 tons & 2 crew per gun

Each gun deck may mount up to six guns per side, and are retractable. Five rounds are stored at the mount; more are brought up from the holds. Broadside guns may be directed from the bridge for firing at zeppelins or ground targets within the guns’ effective range. The gun crews may fire under local control when attacking aircraft.

Broadside guns are typically flak guns, in similar calibers: usually between three and five inches (76 to 127 mm).

Bomb Rack
5 tons & 1 crew

Some military zeppelins mount bomb racks on the underside of the hull. It mounts eight hardpoints’ worth of bombs. It may not be used to fire rockets. Bombs must be accounted for in cargo. Bombs are released from the bridge.

Rocket Rack
10 tons & 2 crew

Rocket racks provide eight hardpoints for aerial rockets. Bombs may not be dropped from rocket racks. Rocket racks may be placed at the bow or stern, or to replace broadside guns. Ammunition must be accounted for in cargo. They are fired under local control.

Control Room
[Length of hexes of the zeppelin / 2] tons and [Length of hexes of the zeppelin] crew
The bridge includes a chart room and a radio room. Sometimes, military zeppelins place these rooms separately. Civilian zeppelins always place them in the control gondola.

1 ton & 1/4 crew

Crew are required only for passenger cabins. Accommodations aboard a military zep do not require crew.

For your one ton, you may have any one of the following: one luxury cabin (for one person, a first-class passenger or senior officer), one suite (each person requires one ton of accommodation; a suite for five people weighs five tons), one double cabin (aboard a passenger zeppelin, tourist class), one quadruple cabin (economy class), or one cell for up to eight prisoners.

Crew Rooms
2 tons & 1 crew

For your two tons and one crew, you may have any one of the following: one extra chart room, one extra radio room, one kitchen section (one section required for every ten cabins), one dining room section (one section required for every ten cabins), one lounge (suitable for ten tourist or economy class passengers, or two first-class passengers), a library (which may be expanded), an arboretum (which may be expanded), an observation deck, a briefing room or flight command center, or a science laboratory (which may be expanded).

We have a set of aircraft design rules which are not reproduced here. It suffices to say, for the remainder of this post, that zeppelin-borne aircraft come in airframe sizes ranging between 4t and 15t, and their weight in tons is their size for the purposes of these rules.

Internal Skyhooks
[3*size] tons & 5 crew

A traditional docking hook used to launch and recover planes: the skyhook drops planes out the bottom of the zeppelin, and extends into the air below the bottom of the zeppelin to recover them. Each skyhook may launch or recover one plane per round. The size specifies the largest plane that may be launched or recovered.

External Skyhooks
[2*size] tons & 1 crew

Skyhooks mounted outside the zeppelin’s hull, frequently used for emergency exits or as emergency landing spaces. Each may hold one plane, its maximum size specified by the skyhook’s size. The pilot gains entry to the zeppelin by means of a small ladder. Moving large cargo between an external skyhook and the zeppelin’s interior is impossible.

Launch Bay
[5*size] tons & 15 crew

Launch bays are used in the largest military zeppelins. Each may launch two planes per round, but may not be used to recover aircraft. The size specifies the largest plane that may be launched.

External Refueling Rig
[2.5*size] tons & 3 crew

Refueling rigs are external skyhooks with plumbing to refuel docked planes. Each plane may be refueled in one round. (It therefore takes a three-round cycle: recover in round one, refuel in round two, launch in round three.) Otherwise, they function as external skyhooks.

[ size of air wing ] tons & 1 crew/10 tons

The size of the air wing refers to the sum of its weights. The hangar is an internal space in the zeppelin with room for parking, access to the launching systems, and facilities for refueling and rearming planes, as well as stowage for aircraft stores. Any zeppelin with a launch bay or an internal skyhook must have a hangar.

Repair Bay
[2*size] tons & 5 crew

Repair bays contain tools and equipment for disassembling, maintaining, and repairing planes. A hangar and an internal skyhook are prerequisites. The size specifies the largest plane which may be serviced.

1/2 ton food/water/etc. per person per month.
1 ton per plane per combat sortie. (Includes fuel and ammunition, as required.)
1/2 ton per plane per non-combat sortie. (Includes fuel only.)
1 ton of ammunition per zeppelin gun of any type.

Engine Speed

Engine          Fuel/day (tons)  Speed (hexes)   Speed (mph full/economy)
Diesel, slow      Volumehex / 5              1                     50/10
Diesel, normal    Volumehex / 2              2                     65/15
Diesel, fast          Volumehex              3                     80/20

For travel, engines can be run at full speed, consuming the listed amount of fuel per day. They may also be run at economy speed, using the second number in the speed column and consuming half the listed amount of fuel per day.

Engines may be fueled by blaugas, gasoline, or diesel, which are identical for our purposes. (Zeppelins which run gasoline engines may share fuel with the air wing.)

Cargo Hold
[any size] + 2 tons

The two tons are for handling equipment, and do not count toward capacity.

External Cargo Platform
[any size] + 2 tons

Smaller freight zeppelins sometimes use an external platform mounted under the hull. These are much cheaper for a given capacity, and may also be used as an emergency hangar for small planes. The cargo capacity is 1.5 * size. The two tons are for handling equipment, and do not count toward capacity.

Cargo Winch
[2 tons + cargo weight] & 2 crew

A cargo winch lowers a section of the cargo hold floor beneath the zeppelin, which may be used to easily load cargo without the use of ramps or slings.

With modifications, the platform may be used as an emergency landing point. Add one ton to the mechanism. The winch’s rated capacity must be twice the size of the plane. A plane making an emergency landing on a cargo platform loses its engines.

Zeppelin Harpoons
[5 + length in hexes of largest zeppelin which can be towed] tons & 4 crew

Intended to tow disabled zeppelins for repair, pirates sometimes modify the towing mechanisms to serve as grappling harpoons.

1. Or just read his posts here.
2. As he said, “IIRC, ja.”

Retro Air Force Procurement

Here’s a change of pace from our regular procurement game. Let’s go back to a time before precision guidance was all the rage. A time when Saigon was still Saigon (albeit about to fall). A time when a favorite marching cadence was ‘Napalm Sticks to Kids’. A time when the Soviet Union was extant and terrifying and, yes, a time when Gerald Ford was in the white house. Welcome to the mid-1970s. Borgundy is still a reasonably well off European nation, a proud NATO member squaring off against the Warsaw Pact. We’d like a big new frontline fighter for the defense of our realm, and the best and latest in advanced western types are both American: the Grumman F-14A and the McDonnell Douglas F-15A. Let’s compare them, and see which comes away with the win. Remember, it’s 1975, so we can’t let any knowledge of how these two planes shook out affect our choice.

We’ll start with the Grumman offering, since it’s newer. The Grumman F-14 can be thought of as the ultimate fleet defense fighter. It’s built more or less to the same concept that gave birth to the fabulously successful F-4 Phantom II, but supersized, and uses the latest aerodynamics technology. It’s designed to have a long operating range and endurance, so it can fly a good distance out from the carrier, from where it will engage Soviet bombers before they can launch their missiles. To that end, it has plenty of fuel storage, high-tech swing wings for good speed and short-field performance, the most powerful fighter radar in the world (the AWG-9), and the longest range air to air missile in the world (the AIM-54 Phoenix). The Phoenix even has a fancy active seeker, unlike those lame semi-active seekers on the USAF standard Sparrow missile. Like the Phantom, the Tomcat has a two-man crew, one pilot, and one to operate the advanced radar system. It has the same TF30 turbofans as the F-111, however. Peformancewise, the F-14 was designed to match the Phantom as far as speed and maneuverability goes, but have a main armament that’s much longer ranged. And unlike the F-4, it does have a gun–the US Navy learned its lessons from Vietnam.

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 is designed to be the ultimate air superiority fighter, something the US Air Force hasn’t had in years. It is designed to be able to beat any current or projected future fighter type in air to air combat. The US Air Force took the Vietnam lessons to heart too. The Eagle is faster than the F-4, and is second only to the MiG-25 in top speed. It’s more agile overall than the F-4 or the F-14 because of it’s superior thrust to weight ratio and structural tolerance for more Gs. Like the F-14, it has a 20mm M61 Vulcan cannon with plenty of ammunition for a shootout or a strafing run. It does not carry the Phoenix missile, instead it carries Sidewinders and Sparrows, just like the Phantom. Unlike the Phantom and the Tomcat, the Eagle is a single seat fighter. It’s radar, while more advanced than the APQ-72 on the Phantom, is less powerful than the AWG-9 of the F-14. However, automation allows a single pilot to use it effectively. The F-15 was designed with offensive counter-air sweeps in mind, just like USAF F-4s flew in Vietnam.

So how do these two compare? Contractwise at about this time, they’re dead even. The Shah of Iran chose the F-14, the Israelis chose the F-15. Which will we choose? Well, the F-14 has the better sensor suite by far, with the AWG-9 being able to track 24 targets simultaneously, and attack up to six with Phoenix missiles. It even has look-down/shoot-down capability. The Tomcat also has an infrared search and track system mounted under the nose to help with target identification. While the F-15 also has a look-down/shoot-down capable radar in the APG-63, it has less range, simultaneous tracking capability, and simultaneous engagement capability. What it does have are a number of semiautomatic modes that make it very easy for a single crewman to employ in combat. The F-14 was designed to operate (more or less) on it’s own on extended patrols protecting a carrier battle group, or covering a Vietnam-style strike package from Yankee Station. The F-15 was designed with the significant USAF support assets of AWACS and jamming aircraft in sweeps to support strike packages, again, as in Vietnam. It also has a superior IFF system. Recent experience in the air war over Vietnam has demonstrated that beyond visual range methods are not as guaranteed as the missile manufacturers claim. The long-range AIM-54 was designed to kill bombers, and we are somewhat skeptical of its ability to effectively kill agile enemy fighters at range.

Vietnam demonstrated that air combat maneuvering capability is important, and the F-15 excels here. Part of this is because it’s a lighter, smaller plane. It carries less fuel. It’s structure is also rated to handle more G-force than that of the F-14. The F-15 also has far superior engines. In order to cut costs, the US Navy tried to re-use as much as it could from the colossal failure that was the F-111B, and that included the engines. However, not only does this give the F-14A a rather anemic thrust-to-weight ratio, but the TF30 is also very prone to compressor stalls at high angles of attack. It was never designed for a platform that would maneuver aggressively. And because the Tomcat’s engine nacelles are widely spaced, in order to provide room ot carry the big AIM-54 missiles, a compressor stall in one engine can lead to a flat spin, which is very difficult to recover from.1

The Eagle is the cheaper fighter to procure, but the numbers I found may be colored by its larger production run. It isn’t that much cheaper though; they’re certainly in the same price class (like a Porsche and a Lamborghini). The F-15 is significantly cheaper to operate and maintain. It has a number of design elements that simplify maintenance, and it doesn’t have the complicated variable geometry wings.2 This translates into increased availability for sorties, and (of course) more sorties for the money.

Famously, the F-15’s unofficial design motto was “Not a pound for air to ground”, though this is probably apocryphal. As seen by the minor changes needed for the F-15E, McDonnell Douglas certainly put in enough structural strength for ground attack missions. The Tomcat is also capable of carrying plenty of bombs, though neither the USN nor the USAF has bothered to integrate any air to ground weapons into the stores management system. So that’s a wash. As far as air to air armament goes, the biggest difference is the massive (but also very expensive) AIM-54 on the Tomcat. In terms of number of missiles, both planes field eight air to air missiles. In the ‘small advantages’ column, the F-15 carries more ammunition for its 20mm cannon, with 940 rounds to the F-14’s 675.

So, what is the final decision? We’re going for the Eagle. Better air combat capabilities against fighters and lower operating costs put the F-15 ahead of the F-14 for us. The offensive counter air mission is a much bigger need than a long range interceptor. And if the Soviets come at us hard, it will probably be by land, and we’ll want to neutralize their frontline aviation while bombing the living daylights out of their second echelon, reserves, and logistics. We’ll actually need another plane for the mud-moving; the Eagle is expensive enough without us trying to make it into a ground attack aircraft on our own.

1.) See Top Gun for a hands-on demonstration of a nasty flat spin. At least it’s not inverted. Or you could, but this is 1975, and it hasn’t been made yet.
2.) Stepping out of 1975 for a moment, we can see this reflected in that the USAF still operates F-15s, but the USN phased the F-14 out of service in 2006. But we have no way of knowing that in 1975 of course. 2006 is a long way off in the future; people probably commute in flying cars or something weird like that.

The Crossbox Podcast

So called because parvusimperator wanted a Clarkson-esque name like ‘Crossfire’, and I was thinking something utilizing the current branding, like ‘Soapbox’. You get the middle of the road solution nobody wants1.

Today’s show features: the US Navy’s Bad Idea™, surprisingly similar handgun choices, and wargames that get us good.


1. I guess it sounds kind of like the box in which you might cross-examine someone, which does capture the usually-adversarial nature of our little chats.

Resurrected Weapons: AGM-136 Tacit Rainbow

A standard problem for a SEAD1 escort package is that if the enemy figures out what’s about to go down, they may shut off their SAM system radars, which makes it very hard to engage these radars. Switching off the radar has been as standard trick to spoil an antiradar2 missile (ARM) shot since the Vietnam War. Normally, one would expect SEAD aircraft to have to loiter over the target area, which is far from ideal. Loitering SEAD aircraft are vulnerable to fighters or short range IR guided missiles. An alternative concept was put forward in the ’80s with AGM-136.

AGM-136, which went by the unbearably dorky name ‘Tacit Rainbow’, was designed to provide an ARM that could loiter. Built on a cruise-missile type frame, it could be carried in the bomb bay of a B-52 or on the pylons of a wide variety of multirole fighter and strike aircraft. There was also a variant to be launched from the M270 MLRS. The idea was to use these reasonably low-observable platforms en masse against an enemy air defense network. If they found targets, they would seek out and destroy them like any other ARM. Otherwise, they could loiter in the target area waiting, making sure that the enemy did not switch on their SAM radars to engage the incoming strike package.

Like many advanced weapons of the late Cold War, the AGM-136 hit a number of cost overruns, because it had to fly in a preprogrammed area, recognize, and prioritize hostile radar emitters and then engage them. It was eventually cancelled in 1991. Advances in cheap microelectronics since the late 80s, plus the abundance of cheap GPS receivers, would make the AGM-136 a much easier development project today. It’s a nice supplement to EW aircraft like the EA-18G Growler, and would greatly help the survivability of strike packages while not requiring a correspondingly large investment in specialized platforms. With the increasing proliferation of higher-end air defense systems (even Iran has S-300s now), our strike packages will need all the help they can get. A platform like the AGM-136 is a great way to extend the survivability of non-stealthy platforms like the Viper or the Super Hornet.

The one thing that we’d like to investigate further is the ground-launched variant. In general, we would question whether the system would have enough fuel to fly from forward artillery positions to the target area and loiter while a strike package does its business. Near the front lines, we would not expect much in the way of powerful, long range air defense systems, simply because they would have to move quite a bit. On the other hand, they might prove to be cheap insurance over annoyingly potent short range systems like SA-15.

Verdict: Approved by Borgundy War Department Procurement Board, pending a rename.

1) Suppression of Enemy Air Defense
2) More often this is rendered Antiradiation missile, but I always thought Antiradar sounded better, and takes less explaining to the non-expert reader. Plus it’s easier to type.

Terminated Weapons: TOW

Here’s another one for the chopping block. The BGM-71, Tube-launched Optically-sighted Wire-guided (TOW) missile. It’s been a classic antitank missile of the United States and its allies since 1972. It is time for it to go.

The TOW was a solid performer in its day. It’s killed plenty of tanks, and its received plenty of upgrades. Current versions have either a tandem-warhead, or a flyover-top-attack flight profile, with explosively formed penetrator warheads. So they’re reasonably capable of dealing with modern tanks with their fancy explosive reactive armor (or tons of composites). All that said, they’re obsolete and it’s time to give them the boot.

The TOW is heavy. Modern versions weigh 22.6 kg (just shy of 50 lbs) and that’s only the missile. You also have to add in the weight of the launch tube, its tripod mount and the sighting unit, which comes to about 93 kilos (204.6 lbs) altogether. So it’s really pushing the term ‘man portable’. Plus, it still uses SACLOS wire guidance. A Javelin missile has a lighter launcher and is fire and forget, so the missile team can move after launching. Which is good, because they’re position is painfully obvious due to the massive cloud of missile exhaust. Even if the team is killed, the Javelin will still track the target; killing a SACLOS missile crew (or even getting them to flinch) by shooting back at them is a great way to spoil their missile shot. Another bonus feature for the Javelin is that it doesn’t have a massive backblast, so it can be fired from enclosed spaces, or if there’s some stuff behind the missile that you’d rather not expose to hot exhaust (dry grass comes to mind). Even though TOW has a range advantage on Javelin, the Javelin is still a much more effective weapon system for the combat infantryman. The range limitations of Javelin are due to limitations of the command launch unit, not the missile itself; we can probably expect Block 2 improvements to rectify this shortcoming. Plus, depending on the theater of operations, long sightlines may not be available for this to become an issue. The Javelin’s range limitations are unlikely to be an issue in cities or in the forests of Central Europe.

The heavy TOW makes a lot more sense on a ground vehicle, where the weight matters a lot less. Here though, it faces stiff competition from Javelin (and Spike). The fire-and-forget capability of these missiles allows them to move after launching, which is nice if you’re shooting from something thin-skinned and an enemy tank has taken notice of the massive launch signature. While guiding a TOW, a launching vehicle is forced to be immobile. First, the TOW tracker isn’t really set up to handle a moving launch platform and a moving missile in its target track. It is designed around a fixed point of reference. While a vehicle could move slowly and not screw up the guidance too badly, this won’t help them live much, and may cause the wire to snag on some obstacle as the missile attempts to correct for launch platform movement and the target track. Breaking the wire gives you a rather slow rocket, which isn’t overly helpful either.

What about on helicopters? Aerial platforms were a very common user of the TOW missile in Vietnam and elsewhere. However, we now have the vastly superior Hellfire missile, which uses either semi-active laser homing or millimeter-wave active radar. The active radar version (‘Longbow Hellfire’) gives us the cool fire-and-forget capability of the Javelin or the Spike, which lets the helicopter switch targets or evade enemy fire. Even the semi-active laser homing version has advantages over the TOW, though. The Hellfire missile has about twice the range of the TOW, travels about half again as fast as the TOW, and even with the SALH version, multiple targets can be engaged very rapidly. Hellfire variants also have alternative warheads, including versions with fragmentation-augmented shaped charge warheads and thermobaric warheads. This means that the Hellfire missile family can engage more types of targets on the battlefield.

For even more ways to kill tanks, we can look to the UK’s Brimstone missile. This missile is roughly Hellfire sized, and can be fired from helicopters or fixed wing aircraft, even fast movers. It distinguishes itself by being able to fly to a designated area and seek out armor using an active radar seeker. From a rotary winged platform, it has almost three times the range of TOW. And, unlike TOW, it can be fired from fixed wing aircraft (for even more range).

So there we go. TOW really doesn’t fit in anymore. It was a good system in the 70s, and upgrades did a good job of keeping it relevant (unlike the Harpoon). But there are contemporaries that fill its roles better now, so it’s time for TOW to tap out.