US restocking on APKWS II system
The Naval Air Systems Command in Maryland has awarded a $225 million contract to BAE Systems for the delivery of over 9000 additional units of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) II by September 2020.
The APKWS is a 2.75-inch laser-guided rocket aimed at engaging lightly armoured point targets, putting it between unguided rockets such as the Hydra 70 and anti-armour munitions such as the AGM-114 Hellfire. The contract also saw FMS for the Netherlands and Nigeria.
It is equipped with the WGU-5/B mid-body guidance unit, which features DASALS seeker optics which deploy 0.5 seconds after launch. This unit is installed between the Mk 66 Mod 4 rocket motor and warhead, which increases the rocket length by 47cm and weight by 4.1kg, in comparison to the Hydra system.
It comes available for both rotary and fixed wing platforms, with a maximum range of over 5km and over 12km respectively. Though first deployed by the US forces in Afghanistan in March 2012, the APKWS has since been sold to other militaries.
On 14 April 2014, the US signed an agreement with the Jordanian Air Force for the sale of the APKWS for use on their CN-235 gunship. On November 2014, the US approved the sale of up to 2000 APKWS rockets to Iraq, and on June 2015 a sale of six A-29 Super Tucanos to the Lebanese Air Force included 2000 APKWS rockets for use on the turboprops, totalling at $462 million.
To date, the rocket has achieved over a 93% hit rate according to BAE Systems.
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