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The APKWS® Laser-Guided Rocket (sponsored)

20th November 2019 - 10:22 GMT | by Industry Spotlight


This article is brought to you by BAE Systems.

The APKWS® guidance kit transforms unguided 2.75-inch (70 millimeter) rockets into precision-guided rockets, giving warfighters a low-cost surgical strike capability.

The APKWS® rocket redefines precision by hitting the target with pinpoint accuracy and minimal collateral damage – critical for air-to-ground missions. The rocket is proven in combat for 5+ years and is the U.S. Government’s only program of record for 2.75-inch laser-guided rockets.

The APKWS® rocket bridges the gap between unguided rockets and anti-armor munitions, consistently delivering pinpoint accuracy to soft targets at a low cost, that no other system can match.

Precision Strike Capability

The APKWS® guidance section is designed to lock onto targets from more than 3 kilometers away, keeping aircraft and laser designators at a safe distance from threats. The APKWS rocket includes advanced DASALS seeker optics located on all four guidance wings. Once fired, the wings deploy, and the optics lock in, guiding the rocket to the target.

  • 40-degree instantaneous field of regard enables a broad capture area for the rocket to adjust mid-flight and stay on track to its target
  • Optics lock onto moving or stationary targets in open or confined areas, supporting a wide variety of missions, and eliminating the possibility of a lost or uncontrolled rocket after launch
  • Wing slot seals protect optics from adjacent firings, sand, and moisture prior to launch to ensure no damage or debris inhibit the seeker from locking onto targets

Combat Proven

There are 13 launch platforms qualified with the APKWS® laser-guided rocket:

  • AH-64D/E Apache
  • AH-1W/Z Super Cobra
  • UH-1Y Venom
  • MH-60S/R Knight Hawk / Seahawk
  • UH-60L/M Black Hawk
  • IA-407 Bell
  • ARH Tiger
  • F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • A-10 Thunderbolt
  • AV-8B Harrier
  • OV-10 Bronco
  • OH-58 Kiowa Warrior
  • AH-6M Little Bird

The APKWS® rocket exceeds program requirements as the most accurate precision guided weapon in its class. It is utilized by all four U.S. armed forces, with deliveries to numerous allied countries. In combat, the rocket has achieved over a 93 percent hit rate when fired from rotary- and fixed-wing platforms.

  • Fired from more than 20 different fixed- and rotary-wing platforms
  • U.S. Army has achieved numerous confirmed successful engagements in support of current combat operations
  • U.S. Air Force has fired hundreds of fixed-wing units in theater to date
  • U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy have fired thousands of combined fixed- and rotary-wing shots in total, and hundreds in combat scenarios

Instead of buying costly new weapon systems, users simply implement the upgrade into existing unguided rocket inventories.

BAE Systems

Flexible and Modular Design

The mid-body guidance and control section is compatible with existing and new inventories of 2.75-inch (70 millimeter) rocket motors, warheads, and launchers. It simply inserts between the rocket motor and warhead for easy installation on a variety of platforms.

  • Requires no modifications to the standard rocket motor, firing platform, or fire control system
  • Light weight allows pilots to carry more stowed weapons, to engage more targets in combat
  • Requires minimal training, providing a seamless transition from firing Hydra rockets

Cost Effective

The APKWS® rocket is the most cost effective laser-guided munition in its class. Instead of buying costly new weapon systems, users simply implement the upgrade into existing unguided rocket inventories for instant accuracy at the industry’s lowest total ownership cost.

Prepared for Increased Demand

Demand from U.S. and international governments for the APKWS® guidance kits is growing, and BAE Systems is positioned to support this need. In 2016, the company opened a new factory in New Hampshire to produce and deliver more units at an even faster rate. It offers a manufacturing capacity of up to 20,000 units per year, and continues to expand production.

The APKWS® laser-guided rocket is available to all four U.S. military branches and through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to allied nations for ongoing combat operations.

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