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BAE Systems has concluded the first tactical configuration ground-launched test of its Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) laser-guided rockets.

The test shots were conducted as a ‘proof-of-concept’ to showcase the APKWS rockets’ flexibility to provide standoff precision strike capabilities for ground forces.

The rocket is designed to hit targets with a larger range than small arms fire. It also eliminates the need for air support.

In collaboration with the US Navy and Arnold Defense, BAE Systems tested the rockets at the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

The tests used Arnold’s FLETCHER 2.75-inch/70mm Weapon System concept. A laser-guided rocket launcher was built to fire shots from ground vehicles.

The ground-launch capability is based on several combat shots fired from rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

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Using the rockets, mounted and dismounted units can destroy soft and lightly armoured targets from different platforms.

The rocket’s low size, weight and power factors make it suitable for platforms such as tactical lightweight vehicles, remote weapon stations, non-standard tactical vehicles and stationary.

It is operational with all four US Armed Forces and available to US allies for procurement via foreign military sales.

Arnold Defense president and CEO Jim Hager said: “We designed FLETCHER specifically as a ground launcher for precision-guided 70mm rockets.

“FLETCHER-launched APKWS rockets enable our military customers to engage targets from more than just airborne platforms. We envision FLETCHER being used on everything from trucks and tracked vehicles to marine platforms in the future.”

In September last year, the US Department of Defense awarded BAE Systems a $2.7bn contract to produce APKWS II, which will support both the US military and foreign weapons sales.