Raytheon has successfully fired a series of Talon laser guided rocket (LGR) shots from AH-64 Apache attack helicopters during recent trials at an undisclosed location.
The series, covering launch of 25 rockets from both Apache D and E models, is expected to help define the US Army's small guided munitions requirement and acquisition strategy, while developing combat tactics, techniques and procedures for use with guided Hydra-70 rockets.
Raytheon Talon laser guided rocket programme director Darryl Kreitman said: "Talon remains the lowest cost and most flexible guided rocket option for the warfighter.
"Unlike other guided rockets, Talon requires no lifecycle maintenance, does not contain the complexity of a roll bearing joint and can be purchased as a guidance kit or an all up round."
The rocket can be fired without hardware modifications to the launch platform or proprietary launchers.
Since securing Apache D / E model air worthiness certification in April 2014, the rocket has continued to expand the engagement envelops and enhance Apache rocket load-out options.
The aerial tests demonstrated the rocket's flexibility and effectiveness against a broad spectrum of threats, including unarmoured and lightly armoured vehicles, while stationary and manoeuvring, under various launch conditions.
A joint development between Raytheon and Emirates Advanced Investments, Talon LGR is a low-cost, digital, semi-active laser guidance and control kit designed to convert 'dumb' 2.75in / 70mm helicopter-borne rockets into guided weapons.
Talon is fully compatible with existing airborne and ground laser designators and bridges the critical operational capability gap between unguided rockets and guided, heavy anti-tank missiles.
In addition, its architecture and ease of employment increases its suitability for missions in urban environments, as well as counter-insurgency, and swarming boat defence operations.