LEXINGTON, Mass., Aug. 6 -- Raytheon Co. has been awarded a $44.8 million full rate production contract by the US Army for its Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) Improved Target Acquisition Systems (ITAS). The Army agreement also calls for a subsequent production contract to be awarded later this year, which will raise the total value of the contracts to $237 million over a period of five years. Under the terms of the contract, deliveries are slated to begin in late 2001. Raytheon is currently in low rate initial production (LRIP) for ITAS, and to date has delivered approximately 30 of 112 systems. The LRIP 1 and 2 contracts are valued at $72 million, with final deliveries scheduled to take place by mid-2000.ITAS upgrades the launcher currently deployed on the High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle and used with ground mounted TOW. Both ITAS and TOW are employed against enemy armored vehicles. ITAS utilizes a second generation forward looking IR device incorporating Standard Advanced Dewar Assembly technology, an eyesafe laser rangefinder, and a gunner aided target tracker to increase recognition range performance by a factor of two. It is designed to increase the hit probability above that of the existing TOW, one of the world's most widely used anti-armor missiles.