DH - Defence Helicopter

Qatar to receive AH-64E APKWS rockets

14th April 2018 - 12:00 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in London

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In a deal approved by the US State Separtment, Qatar is set to weaponise its Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters with Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) II guided rockets.

The proposed sale, valued at $300 million, includes 5,000 of the BAE Systems manufactured APKWS rockets, alongside associated parts including rocket motors, high explosive warheads and spares.

Full details of the development were disclosed by the DSCA in a 9 April statement. ‘The APKWS will provide Qatar with a low-cost precision strike capability, decreasing collateral damage and expanding its options for counter-terrorism operations,’ it read.

BAE Systems, Nashua, is named as the principal contracting authority for the agreement, but there is no indication of when the fully integrated munitions will be manufactured and subsequently delivered to Qatar.

By way of FMS provision, the Gulf state currently has 24 AH-64E aircraft under order with the Pentagon, with Boeing anticipating a completion date of May 2020 for the fleet.

The decision by the Trump administration to clear the order appears to be a measured one amid suggestions that US President had taken Saudi Arabia’s side during a dispute, which led to Riyadh and the UAE introducing a trade blockade against Qatar last year.   

'Qatar is an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Persian Gulf region,' the DSCA said. 'Our mutual defence interests anchor our relationship and the Qatar Emiri Air Force [QEAF] plays a predominant role in Qatar’s defence.'

APKWS II rockets weigh 15.9kg and operate at a range of 1.5-5.5km. The USMC has used them on Bell AH-1W and Bell UH-1Y aircraft during Afghanistan missions. 

The systems guidance capability is secured inside a screw-in module between motor and warhead and includes four 10mm diameter laser seekers - designed to give a 40° field of regard and a 28° FoV. 

1034 AH-64E aircraft have been ordered to date, 335 of which have been delivered to the US DoD and international customers. The Guardian variant has surpassed 120,000 flight hours.

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