The Navy has authorized full-rate production for a laser-guided rocket system that is intended to fill the gap between the Hellfire missile and unguided rockets.
BAE Systems’ advanced precision kill weapon system, or APKWS, has been used in combat several times since its deployment in March, said John Watkins, director of precision guidance solutions for BAE Systems.
The weapon is the result of adding a mid-body guidance unit to the Hyrda 70 unguided rocket. The system is designed for troops to engage targets in areas where the threat of non-combat injuries and collateral damage has prevented them from doing so, officials said.
The APKWS is lighter and less expensive than the military’s existing inventory of forward-firing laser-guided precision munitions and can be used faster, they said. The weapon can be fired from any helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft that also can handle Hydra 70 rockets. BAE Systems is working with the government to expand its use to other platforms such as the unmanned MQ-8B Fire Scout and the armed MH-60S.
The weapon was shot for the first time in March from AH-1W and UH-1Y helicopters supporting Marines on the ground in Afghanistan. In September, BAE Systems delivered the 925th initial production system to the Navy.Photo Credit: BAE Systems