Britain’s BAE Systems was awarded a $175 million U.S. Navy award to produce 7,000 more Advance Precision Kill Weapio System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets, the company said Tuesday.

This award falls under a $600 million 2016 Navy indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract as a vehicle to supply the APKWS to the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and allied countries under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process.

Example of an APKWS being shot. Image: BAE Systems
Example of an APKWS being shot. Image: BAE Systems

BAE said this new award extended the existing contract’s initial unit production cap and total value for growing demand. It expects further additional orders will lift the total number of units in this production lot up to 17,500 APKWS.

The company previously was awarded a $180.5 million order to build 7,000 APKWS under a 2017 contract last June (Defense Daily, June 12, 2017).

APKWS modifies existing standard 2.75-inch rockets into precision munitions by installing a guidance kit between the unguided rocket’s engine and warhead. They are built around BAEs Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker technology.

The company noted it continued to ramp up production capacity as it builds to annual production levels of over 20,000 units, using facilities in New Hampshire and Texas.

“Global demand for our precision strike capabilities is being driven by a need for munitions that can strike soft targets with accuracy surrounded by friendly forces, civilians, and valuable assets. With APKWS, our customers get a high-quality, reliable, easy-to-use product that is designed to hit intended targets with extreme accuracy,” Marc Casseres, BAE’s director of precision guidance and sensing solutions, said in a statement.

BAE added that it is meeting a surging customer demand while its manufacturing facilities and supplier network “have enabled it to accelerate full-rate production, exceed manufacturing expectations, and deliver units to the Navy ahead of schedule.”

The APKWS has been used as a Navy program of record for the Marine Corps since 2012 and has been demonstrated or qualified for use on 16 rotary and fixed wing aircraft including the V-22 Osprey, MQ-88 Fire Scout, A-10 Thunderbolt II, MH-60S/R, and AH-64 Apache.

The company was unable to disclose the specific destination for these newly ordered APKWS units.