Laser-Guided Rockets Tested Against Class 2 Unmanned Aerial Systems

BAE Systems’ APKWS rockets were integrated with standard M151 warheads and Mk66 motors with APKWS precision guidance kits and a proximity fuze, enabling them to engage and destroy drones By DA Staff / 22 Oct 2021
BAE Systems APKWS Laser-Guided Rocket
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BAE Systems, Inc. has conducted precision strike tests of its APKWS laser-guided rockets at Yuma Proving Grounds, U.S.

The 2.75” test rockets demonstrated their counter strike capabilities against Class 2 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The rockets were integrated with standard M151 warheads and Mk66 motors with APKWS precision guidance kits and a newly developed proximity fuze – enabling them to engage and destroy airborne drones at a fraction of the cost of traditional counter-UAS strike capabilities.

APKWS guidance kits transform unguided rockets into precision-guided munitions with explosive effects and range capabilities designed for today’s dynamic military engagements. APKWS rockets have proven combat capabilities and the flexibility to strike a variety of stationary and moving targets from planes, helicopters, ground vehicles, boats, and remote weapon stations.

“UAS of all sizes are a growing threat increasingly deployed by adversaries around the globe,” said Greg Procopio, director of Precision Guidance and Sensing Systems at BAE Systems. “The flexibility and affordability of APKWS rockets make them a good choice for taking out small, tactical military drones. 

“Our successful test strikes demonstrate the creativity of our engineers and an innovative and economical use of existing Department of Defense materiel to address an emerging threat.”

The key to APKWS rockets’ counter-UAS capability is the innovative proximity fuze jointly developed by L3Harris Technologies and Technology Service Corporation. The fuze combines target proximity detection and point detonation capabilities, and is a drop-in replacement for existing M423 fuzes – allowing APKWS rockets to destroy UAS without the need for a direct hit.

Unlike expensive counter-UAS missiles, APKWS rockets do not need to lock on the target before launch, instead relying on semi-active laser guidance optics that activate on launch, saving warfighters precious seconds when it counts.

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