BAE Systems’ APKWS Rocket Engages Targets from A-10 Jet
BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS™) rocket recently launched and engaged targets from a U.S. Air Force A-10 jet, marking another milestone for the laser-guided rocket system.
This expanded capability gives pilots of fast-moving jet aircraft a precision-guided stand-off system that has proven to be the low-collateral-damage weapon of choice for Marine Corps helicopter pilots in Afghanistan.
“These latest test results underscore the power and versatility of the APKWS technology and provide further proof that the system can be launched off of any platform capable of shooting an unguided 2.75-inch rocket,” said David Harrold, Director of Precision Guidance Solutions at BAE Systems.
“Since its introduction on Marine Corps helicopters in combat operations, the APKWS rocket has proven its ability to defeat a broad range of targets. This test is an important step in bringing that same capability to fixed-wing aviators,” he added.
During the recent tests at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, two APKWS rockets were fired from an Air Force A-10 Warthog at altitudes of approximately 10,000 and 15,000 feet, at airspeeds up to 348 knots. The first controlled test-vehicle shot performed a series of pre-planned maneuvers to collect in-flight data. The second shot, into a 70-knot headwind, hit the target board well within the required 2 meters of the laser spot.
The shot was laser-designated from the ground with a special operations forces marker. These shots are the first in a series planned under a Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration program with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps. The A-10 is the first Air Force platform to conduct testing of the fixed-wing variant of the APKWS weapon. The U.S. Marine Corps recently conducted similar tests off the AV-8B Harrier aircraft.
At one-third the cost and one-third the weight of other precision weapons in inventory, the APKWS rocket is an ideal precision weapon for today’s fiscal environment, reducing the direct cost of target engagement and the total operational cost of each sortie.
To date, the APKWS rocket has been qualified on the AH-1W and UH-1Y helicopters, demonstrated on the Bell 407GT, and has been flown off the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, the Beechcraft AT-6B - and now, the A-10. It is expected to be similarly qualified for use on several other rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft including the AH-64D/E Apache, the armed MH-60R/S, AH-6, AV-8B, F-16, and F/A-18.
BAE Systems is prime contractor for the APKWS rocket, the only U.S. program of record delivering precision guidance for 2.75-inch rockets.