Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System to expand to Navy, Air Force fixed-wing platforms

NASHUA, N.H., 12 March 2011. After initial on AH-1W Cobras and other helicopter platforms the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) from BAE Systems will migrate toward Navy and Air Force fixed wing aircraft -- the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and the U.S Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier.

Mar 12th, 2011

Posted by John McHale
NASHUA, N.H., 12 March 2011. After initial on AH-1W Cobras and other helicopter platforms the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) from BAE Systems will migrate toward Navy and Air Force fixed wing aircraft -- the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and the U.S Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier.
The APKWS is effective against soft and lightly armored targets while minimizing collateral damage.
The new $19.7 million contract calls for analysis and prediction of APKWS performance when launched from the fixed-wing platforms as well as any minor design improvements to support the expanded flight envelope of the higher performance aircraft and reduce the recurring product unit cost.
"This important program will culminate in aircraft flight test firings of 16 performance shots, 14 military utility assessment shots, and the delivery of 50 units for further evaluation of enhanced mission capability," says Roy Rumbaugh, program manager for BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H., where the APKWS guidance section is built.
The Navy declared APKWS ready for production last April and the Marine Corps will initially deploy APKWS from AH-1W Cobra helicopters.
APKWS is a low-cost alternative to other air-launched munitions currently in inventory. Because it uses standard launchers, APKWS requires no platform integration or aircraft modifications, and because it is loaded and fired like a standard 2.75-inch rocket, it requires little additional aviator or ordnance crew training. The mid-body design of its guidance section enables use of existing warheads, fuses, and rocket motors, enhancing the capability of the existing 100,000-unit inventory of unguided rockets.
APKWS can be fired from any helicopter that can launch 2.75-inch rockets. While the initial platform is the AH-1W Cobra, APKWS also has been successfully demonstrated from a U.S. Army OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.
APKWS is the Program of Record established by the U.S. government to meet warfighter requirements for a laser-guided 2.75-inch rocket. The Navy assumed acquisition executive oversight of the program in 2008 and has fully funded it for production. BAE Systems has been the APKWS prime contractor since 2006.

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