US Navy orders additional APKWS rockets
BAE Systems will supply the US Navy with additional Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rockets under a new contract announced on 15 January. The $28 million full-rate production contract with options to produce more APKWS rockets for the navy increases the total full-rate production contract value to $69 million and extends production through 2014.
The APKWS rocket is a guided 2.75-inch rocket that uses semi-active laser guidance technology to strike soft and lightly armoured targets in built-up and confined areas. BAE Systems designed the APKWS technology to fill the gap between the Hellfire missile and unguided rockets. The company produces the mid-body guidance kit, which changes a standard unguided rocket into a precision laser-guided missile.
Joseph Tiano, APKWS programme manager at BAE Systems, said: ‘With this additional navy order, our marines in combat will have a continuous supply of APKWS units at their disposal, enhancing their ability to reliably and cost-effectively engage a variety of targets while minimizing collateral damage. The option was exercised quickly, meaning more systems will go directly to the marines, who are already using the proven precision-strike capability in theatre.’
According to BAE Systems, the recent navy order caps off an important year for the APKWS rocket in which it completed 10 live-fire tests over water against stationary and moving floating targets off Naval Air Station Point Mugu in California; and the system was also fired from a Beechcraft AT-6 light attack/trainer aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base in 2012 as part of an industry-funded demonstration.
The APKWS rocket is qualified on the AH-1W and UH-1Y helicopters, and, according to the company, is expected to be similarly qualified for use on several other rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft.
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