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GarageImage M901.jpg
ArtImage2 M901.png
Research:400 000 Specs-Card-Activity.png
Purchase:450 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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In response to the rising relevance of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) in large-scale warfare, the US sought a need to provide the army a mobile ground platform capable of being an ATGM launcher for support. The basis of the design would be the M113 APC as it was available in plentiful numbers across the army and compatible with the existing logistical network. The system was designated as the Improved TOW Vehicle, or ITV, and a design produced by the company Emerson was accepted as the M901 in 1979. The US used the M901 in Operation Desert Storm, where it is credited with 14 kills. More than 3,000 units of the M901 were produced and exported to many foreign users, with the US retiring the M901 starting in the mid-1990s.

Introduced during Update 1.89 "Imperial Navy", the M901 is a special tank destroyer most notable by its turret extending up high above the hull. The "hammerhead" turret design retracts when the M901 is moving, which can hinder deployment time once a suitable location is found. However, the placement also means that in the correct area, it is entirely possible to be hiding the entire hull behind cover with just the small turret poking out to help nail an enemy tank. The need to stay still to maintain the turret position and fire a TOW missile means that the M901 is terrible in any aggressive play scenario, but most productive in a position-based gameplay.

General info

Survivability and armour

Smoke grenades
Creation of a smoke screen in front of the vehicle
Armourfront / side / back
Hull38 / 44 / 38
Turret10 / 10 / 10
Crew4 people
Visibility188 %
Interior layout of the M901 showing the location of ammo racks, crew and critical components.

The M901 is based off the M113. It may look like a lightly armoured vehicle, but it features 44 mm of alloy 7039 on the sides and 38 mm on the front. The front is angled to make frontal armour effective thickness to match the flat sides. Overall, This counts as about 21 mm of RHA. However, there is a hatch on front which is much about 40% thinner and make this effort rather fruitless, which is compensated by the engine block being there to block some shots.

Overall, head-on this is only enough to stop 12.7 mm calibre machine gun fire from 600 m away and if angled correctly able to stop some low-calibre SPAAs from penetrating the hull and any APHE of its rank will detonate upon hitting it. Keep in mind, that SPAA have high fire rate and you must park it at least 600 m away and at an angle, or they will still manage some partial penetrations. The 30-35 mm SPAA and light tanks will penetrate this tank indefinitely at almost any range.

The top is also quite strong with 38 mm of alloy, which is equivalent to about 18 mm RHA, which means hull might be able to sustain some inaccurate fighter strafe, but most of their 30 mm cannons or top-down attacks will still ruin the tank. If small Bombs or rockets miss, they might fail to penetrate, but armour will not save M901 when receiving a direct hit.

The crew, however, has excellent survivability when the vehicle is placed in a hull-down position. Two crew members, the loader and the commander, are located in the back part of the hull and there are no other critical components located there, so there is little reason to target them first. In the middle of the tank is the gunner operating the tower. Since the I-tow missile is launched from a launcher mounted on top of a tower, it is next to impossible to hit the tower base when hull-down and so the gunner is not exposed to direct fire. The driver is located at the front of the vehicle and is next to the engine block, which might block the shot.

Behind the engine block is the ammunition storage, if hit from the front with SPAA rounds or some types of conventional rounds, the engine block will eat up (absorb and protect the rest of the vehicle) most of the shots, however, if shot from the side or from the front with HEAT, pure AP, APDS and APFSDS rounds, this usually ends in disaster as it will go through the engine and cause an ammunition explosion or destroy a majority of the crew, knocking out the vehicle with a single shot.

When played from a hull-down position with only the launcher exposed, this vehicle is practically immune to kinetic damage, however, being hit with a chemical shell or ATGM into the turret might cause the ATGMs to explode and destroy the carrier. Crossing open areas may also result in taking a hit, thus losing an engine, a crew member or resulting in an ammo-rack explosion.

Armour type:

  • Aluminum Alloy 5083 - Main
  • Structural Steel - Front and Rear Fenders
  • Rubber-Fabric Screens - Fenders/Sideskirts
  • Gun Steel - Launcher
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides Rear Roof
Hull 38 mm (45°) Upper glacis
38 mm (26°) Lower glacis
29 mm (45°) Engine maintenance hatch
44 mm Top

32 mm Bottom

38 mm 38 mm
Turret 10 mm Launcher
17 mm Launcher frame
Cupola 20 mm 20 mm 20 mm 16 mm


Speedforward / back
AB70 / 17 km/h
RB and SB65 / 15 km/h
Number of gears6 forward
2 back
Weight11.8 t
Engine power
AB404 hp
RB and SB212 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB34.2 hp/t
RB and SB18.0 hp/t
Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 70 17 11.8 301 404 25.51 34.24
Realistic 65 15 188 212 15.93 17.97

The mobility of the M901 is okay. The power-to-weight ratio is 17.45 HP/ton. The top speed for the M901 is 64 km/h, though there are not many circumstances you will reach these speeds. Offroad, the M901 will reach 20 km/h quite fast due to its high power-to-weight ratio and will reach its top speed of 38 km/h. In reverse it will easily reach -14 km/h, allowing you to get out of a bad situation.

This vehicle does not have neutral traverse, but still does turn quite fast.

However, the M901 suffers in traversing hills with high angles such as getting up the west side of point "C" on the El Alamein map. This does limit the ability of this vehicle to get to good positions without being spotted and fired upon.

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB5 114 → 6 673 Sl icon.png
RB5 152 → 6 723 Sl icon.png
SB6 436 → 8 398 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications124 500 Rp icon.png
224 000 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost2 400 Ge icon.png
Crew training130 000 Sl icon.png
Experts450 000 Sl icon.png
Aces2 000 Ge icon.png
Research Aces890 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
160 / 210 / 250 % Sl icon.png
214 / 214 / 214 % Rp icon.png
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
14 000 Rp icon.png
22 000 Sl icon.png
400 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
320 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
320 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank filter.png
12 000 Rp icon.png
19 000 Sl icon.png
340 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank transmission.png
15 000 Rp icon.png
24 000 Sl icon.png
430 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank engine.png
15 000 Rp icon.png
24 000 Sl icon.png
430 Ge icon.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Improved Parts
4 200 Rp icon.png
22 000 Sl icon.png
400 Ge icon.png
Mods extinguisher.png
Improved FPE
3 300 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
320 Ge icon.png
Mods tank reinforcement us.png
Crew Replenishment
12 000 Rp icon.png
19 000 Sl icon.png
340 Ge icon.png
Mods thermal sight.png
12 000 Rp icon.png
19 000 Sl icon.png
340 Ge icon.png
Mods smoke screen.png
Smoke grenade
15 000 Rp icon.png
24 000 Sl icon.png
430 Ge icon.png


Night vision device
Improves visibility by enhancing natural light or active illumination.
Thermal imager
Allows to see thermal radiation in the infrared range day and night

Main armament

Ammunition10 rounds
Belt capacity2 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
13.0 → 10.0 s
Fire rate120 shots/min
Vertical guidance-30° / 35°
Fire on the moveup to 5 km/h
Main article: BGM-71C I-TOW

The main weapon on the M901 is the BGM-71C I-TOW ATGM. It has up to 630 mm of penetration at 0 degrees at any distance since it carries a HEAT warhead. The post-penetration of this missile is not amazing and in some circumstances, a follow-up missile may be needed. The missile is a second-generation ATGM so it is mouse controlled. It travels at a speed of 296 m/s. Due to the fuse sensitivity of 0.01 mm, any bush, fence or object in the way will trigger the missile into detonation and the lack of a machine gun means that these obstacles will become quite a nuisance.

The turret can angle down 30 degrees, which means it can fire down from almost any mountain or fire horizontally even when standing on a steep cliff. It also does not have an arming distance, therefore it can fire at tanks even if they are in your immediate surroundings.

The vehicle is trying to put the launcher on the pad whenever it is moving, however, it is still possible to keep it unfolded by using cruise control or moving short distances at a time and stopping between them. Keep in mind that the vehicle will attempt to stow the launcher even when pushed by the enemy, making it impossible to shoot back, therefore all care should be taken to avoid such situations.

BGM-71C I-TOW ATGM Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 10 (2 preloaded
in launcher)
-30°/+35° ±180° N/A 46.62 46.62 56.61 62.60 66.60 13.00 11.50 10.60 10.00
Realistic 31.50 31.50 38.25 42.30 45.00


BGM-71C I-TOW ATGM is a relatively potent missile, having above average penetration values and an excellent flight velocity. Its close Soviet counterpart, IT-1, has 21% lower penetration and 24% lower velocity, on the other hand RakJPz 2 (HOT) has 27% higher penetration, but 19% lower velocity.

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
I-TOW ATGM 630 630 630 630 630 630
Missile details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
0% 50% 100%
I-TOW ATGM 296 3,750 19.05 0.05 0.1 2.88 80° 82° 90°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the M901
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
5 (+1) (+2) (+3) (+4) No


  • The ammunition is modelled as 5 sets of 2 missiles.
  • The ammo counter when full will display 2/4, meaning that 2 missiles are loaded in the launcher while 4 sets of 2 missiles remain in the M901..

Usage in battles

Hull down
M901 in hull down position on a hill.

In a battle, this vehicle is best played hull-down, preferably behind a rock so that rounds won't dip and hit the main chassis, if this is not possible, try to find a ridge to hide behind or a depression in the terrain. Since your launcher is the only thing exposed, expect for your launcher to get hit and receive a 10-second repair. (Note for stock vehicles, you will still be able to fire). Some players will be smarter and will shoot HESH rounds at you, the splash damage could be enough to knock out the crew. Since you only have 10 missiles (2 in the launcher, 8 stowed away) you will have to be patient and skilled at using this missile. If in the right hands, it is incredibly strong and can hold an important spot and single handily deny the enemy any chance of taking an area. This will reward you a large number of targets destroyed as well as gaining a large number of points from people shooting at your launcher.

However, there is a couple of issues. The launcher can only be deployed when stationary and has a deployment time before you are able to train the gun sights on the target and open fire. The reload also requires the launcher to traverse to the rear of the vehicle and further lengthening the reload. one way to combat this is to have the rear end of the vehicle to the target, therefore reducing the time taken to traverse the launcher back to the firing position.

SPAA duty

Apart from shooting at tanks, the ATGM can also be used on helicopters as there is no drop on ATGMs. If playing hull down, it might also be quite hard for helicopters to spot you, therefore making it a potent weapon against an enemy helicopter. Planes will be harder to hit as they will be moving at a faster speed.

Urban combat

The M901 does not fare too well in urban combat - due to the speed of the ATGM it is quite hard to readjust the missile direction in case of a miss and having to stop to fire the ATGM will result in an unpleasant experience. However, if you are forced to take this vehicle out in an urban environment, the best strategy will be to follow your teammates, hide behind cover and wait for your teammates to bait the enemy out.

Enemies worth noting:

  • M113A1 (TOW): this is a similar vehicle based on the M113 hull, with a much slimmer TOW launcher. The launcher only has 90 degrees horizontal rotation and 20 degrees gun depression meaning it adapts terrains slightly worse than the M901. Also, its launcher has a very small profile meaning it is harder to spot so you must deal with the M113A1 (TOW) carefully. However, its gunner is fully exposed and is prone to being knocked out or detonating chemical shells. In a battle, your M901 and the M113A1 (TOW) might be at similar spots which is kind of a sniper vs sniper scenario. Try to spot it first and fire at the gunner/launcher. Its gunner/launcher will detonate your missile and cause overpressure damage, killing all the crew. But watch out for its 12.7 mm MG, it might damage your launcher or penetrate the hull in some cases.

Pros and cons


  • I-TOW ATGMs have good penetration
  • Launcher holds two missiles, which allows for a quick follow-up attack if the first missile misses or fails to completely destroy the target
  • Has the best launcher depression of all horizontal ATGM launchers in the game at -30 degrees
  • The missile launcher is very tall, and combined with its amazing depression of -30 degrees, it can allow for players to abuse terrain features to go completely hull-down and reduce their chance of being spotted at range
  • Has access to 1st generation thermal sights that allow you to increase your situational awareness and spotting ability once unlocked
  • Access to two salvos of smoke grenades


  • Very thin overall armour that can be penetrated by even heavy machine guns
  • The missile launcher is very tall and does not fully retract when hull-down, which can lead to situations where it is easily destroyed and must be repaired, or worse, you get ammo-racked while reloading your missiles by players with good aim or luck
  • While the vehicle is traveling, the launcher is retracted and will be stowed away facing backwards and will take about 4 seconds for it to deploy and face the hull front, which means any vehicle that catches the M901 while it is relocating can dispatch it with ease
  • The launcher only reloads after the second missile has registered a hit
  • The gun sight is located in the launcher, so when the launcher is reloading, it moves together with it and forces the operator to switch over to the binoculars to scan their surroundings
  • Limited ammo count
  • I-TOWs can be jammed by vehicles equipped with soft-kill APS (like those on the PUMA and AMX-30B2 BRENUS) and destroyed by hard-kill APS (such as Drozd on the T-55AMD-1
  • Lacks a machine gun; cannot knock down obstacles that can cause its missiles to detonate before hitting the intended target


M901 in Germany during the Reforger "Central Guardian" 1985 exercise

M901 ITV (Improved TOW Vehicle) is a variant of the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier introduced in 1979 as a highly mobile tank destroyer that could engage not only armoured targets but also fortifications while offering maximum protection for the crew. The vehicle could be transported by air, parachute-dropped and ford water up to 1 m deep with no preparation. Last vehicle of the series was produced in 1998, totaling 3,315 units built over the years.

It's called "improved" due to being an upgrade over the M113A1 with TOW launcher mounted instead of the standard M2 Browning for the chassis. Its SEI 901 TUA launcher was capable of rapid deployment, could accurately hit targets with the first missile and fire the second one as soon as the first impacted the target. It was reloaded manually within 40 seconds. That said though, it had to be stowed when moving above 8 km/h (5 mph) to avoid damage to the launcher. As a secondary weapon M901 carried 7.62 mm M60 machine gun operated by the gunner. A total of 10 missiles and 2,000 machine gun rounds were stored.

A number of variants of the M901 existed, notably:

  • M901 - equipped with first-generation TOW missiles, M113A1 chassis (in-game variant)
  • M901A1 - equipped with TOW 2, M113A2 chassis
  • M901A3 - equipped with TOW 2, M113A3 chassis

The in-game launcher uses the BGM-71C I-TOW missiles, which were the most advanced missiles available on the M901, featuring an increased range and an improved shape-charge warhead. The missile could be fired at targets up to 3,750 m away, with an arming distance of 65 m. The missile's average speed at the maximum range was 187.5 m/s.

Currently, the largest operators of the M901 ITV are Saudi Arabia (335 units), Greece (320) and Egypt (262), a total of 1313 units remains in operation between 10 countries.

Details of the M901 ITV in the A3 variant



See also

External links

Emerson Electric Company
Tank destroyers  M901 ITV

USA tank destroyers
M10  M10 GMC
M36  M36 GMC · M36B2
T95  T28 · T95
M109  M109A1
Wheeled  M3 GMC · T55E1
Other  M8 HMC · M50 · M56
China  ▃LVT(A)(4) (ZIS-2)

Squadron ground vehicles
USA  M901 · M1A1 AIM
Germany  Leopard 2 PL
Britain  Bhishma TWMP
China  Object 122MT "MC"
Sweden  T 80 U
Israel  Magach 6B Gal