CHINA LAKE, Calif., 22 Sept. 2007.BAE Systems shot two guided Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rockets from a U.S. Marine Corps Cobra helicopter. The tests mark the first flights of the APKWS precision-guided weapon from an aircraft.
The flights, held in partnership with the U.S. Navy program office, were designed to confirm the APKWS rocket's compatibility with the Cobra's carriage and launch systems, and to demonstrate that APKWS can be launched from the platform without requiring aircraft integration or modifications. The tests also proved again the weapon's ability to acquire, track, and hit a laser-designated target.
Following the launches, both APKWS rockets were guided by a laser designator to a ground target. The first rocket was guided to the target by a ground-based laser designator. The pilot guided the second rocket to the target using laser designation equipment onboard the helicopter. Both rockets struck the target board well within accuracy requirements established by the Army and Marine Corps.
"Today's flights demonstrate that APKWS performs as designed, and that it meets requirements specified by warfighters in combat," says Michelle McBride, co-leader of the Navy's APKWS project team. "The Marines have expressed a clear need for a low-cost precision-guided weapon, and these flights confirm the system is nearly ready for fielding."
APKWS is a low-cost precision munition system that adapts a standard 2.75-inch unguided rocket into a highly precise, laser-guided weapon capable of engaging unarmored and lightly armored targets. Sensors guide the warhead to target with pinpoint accuracy, ensuring that the desired target is destroyed while greatly lessening the risk of collateral damage. With APKWS, military aircrews can engage targets that were often unreachable using conventional 2.75-inch rockets.
"We are committed to protecting the warfighters who protect us," says Frank Wilson, vice president and general manager of precision targeting at BAE Systems. "APKWS is a simple, effective weapon. To use it, the combat teams just screw the mid-body guidance section between the rocket motor and the warhead and load it into a 2.75-inch rocket launcher, and it's ready to shoot."
BAE Systems has been the prime contractor for APKWS since April 2006. APKWS is a joint-interest program with Army and Navy/Marine Corps participation.