Apache APKWS

BAE Systems has supplied an initial batch of its Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets to the US Army.

Supplied out of the current US Navy inventory, the rockets are expected be deployed on AH-64 Apache helicopters in ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The laser-guided rocket has already proven successful for the US Navy and Marine Corps.

BAE Systems precision guidance solutions director David Harrold said: "With a long track record of success with the US Navy and Marine Corps, we are confident that the US Army will greatly benefit from this highly accurate, low-collateral-damage system.

"The cooperation between military branches has been tremendous. Providing these weapons to our soldiers by leveraging a current program of record should be used as an example for other services and allied countries looking for this precision strike capability."

The army is also working with BAE and the navy to secure additional rockets to meet ongoing demands, while determining additional platform priorities for them apart from Apache helicopters.

Designed and manufactured by BAE in collaboration with the US Government, the APKWS rocket is a mid-body guidance kit that transforms a standard unguided munition into a precision laser-guided rocket.

"We are confident that the US Army will greatly benefit from this highly accurate, low-collateral-damage system,"

The system has a plug-and-play design that makes it tailorable and scalable for future requirements, while enabling streamlined deployment on a variety of platforms using existing equipment and infrastructure.

Initially designed to meet army requirements, the APKWS system is currently a navy programme of record and has been deployed in combat by the Marines since 2012.

According to its manufacturer, the rocket has already been qualified or demonstrated on more than a dozen rotary and fixed-wing platforms.

Claimed to be the only US Department of Defense fully qualified, guided 2.75in rocket that uses semi-active laser guidance technology, APKWS is currently in its third year of full rate production and with 5,000 units manufactured to date by BAE.

Image: An AH-64 Apache helicopters fires APKWS laser-guided rocket. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.