BAE Systems, Inc. has developed an advanced version of its Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guidance kit that offers enhanced strike distance and precision strike lethality.
The upgrade will improve the range of APKWS guided rockets by up to 30%, enabling warfighters to hit targets from a greater standoff distance. The guidance kit transforms an unguided rocket into a precision-guided system.
APKWS is the U.S. government’s only program of record for guiding 2.75-inch laser-guided rockets, providing an efficient, low-cost weapon in the U.S. arsenal of precision munitions. The system can be launched from rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft and unmanned platforms to hit ground, air or sea-based targets.
“We’re focused on evolving APKWS guidance kits to provide them with a more capable low-cost product that’s easy to use and known for its accuracy,” said John Watkins, vice president and general manager of Precision Strike & Sensing Solutions at BAE Systems.
The upgraded APKWS guidance kits help to create an optimized flight trajectory to enable the rocket to engage targets at a steeper angle of attack. The optimized attack trajectory improves first-shot success against stationary and moving targets.
It will also result in logistical benefits as a single variant of the weapon will be qualified for rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft across the U.S. armed forces customers, easing stock management and reducing the cognitive load on pilots.
An upgrade to the surface danger zone logic also provides better training range options in certain conditions, allowing crews to improve their proficiency at home stations.
The guidance kits are manufactured at the company’s production facility in Hudson, New Hampshire. The initial production of APKWS block upgrade guidance kits is expected to start in Q3 2021.