The U.S. Army acquired an initial quantity of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets from BAE Systems for use in Iraq and Afghanistan operations, the company said Tuesday.
The Army is procuring the initial supply of the APKWS rockets from the current U.S. Navy inventory while working with BAE and the Navy to ensure supplementary rockets to meet ongoing demands, BAE said.
The APKWS is a mid-body guidance kit that converts a standard unguided 2.75-inch rocket into a laser-guided precision rocket, the company said.
“With a long track record of success with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, we are confident that the U.S. Army will greatly benefit from this highly accurate, low-collateral-damage system. The cooperation between military branches has been tremendous,” David Harrold, director of precision guidance solutions at BAE Systems, said in a statement.
“Providing these weapons to our soldiers by leveraging a current program of record should be used as an example for other services and allied countries looking for this precision strike capability,” Harrold added.
Although the APKWS was originally designed to meet Army requirements, it is a Navy program of record and has been deployed by the Marine Corps since 2012. BAE highlighted the system’s ‘plug and play’ design that allows for highly tailorable and scalable uses with streamlined deployment on several platforms using existing equipment and infrastructure.
The Army is expected to immediately deploy the APKWS rockets on its AH-64 Apache helicopters before further platform priorities are determined.
The rocket system is presently in the third year of full rate production, with 5,000 units built thus far. APKWS was previously qualified or demonstrated on over a dozen rotary and fixed-wing aircraft platforms.