The U.S. Navy awarded Britain’s BAE Systems a $180.5 million contract order to continue building Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets, the company said Monday.

This award is for 7,000 units and is the second order on the larger indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, a BAE spokesperson told Defense Daily in an email. The larger contract has a ceiling of 10,000 units in 2017. BAE said this order will help the company meet increased U.S. and international demand for the rocket system.

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

The Naval Air Systems Command posted a notice to FedBizOpps May 18 that it intended to award a sole source IDIQ add-on contract to BAE for the full rate production Fiscal Year 2019-21 of the APKWS II. The notice said procurement would include up to 45,000 units over a three-year period.

The Navy earlier awarded BAE a contract worth up to $600 million for additional APKWS rockets in October (Defense Daily, Oct. 19, 2016).

BAE highlighted the APKWS allows users to leverage existing investments and munitions with the system. The rockets are built around BAE’s Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker technology with a mid-body guidance section that fits between the motor and warhead.

The mid-body guidance kit “transforms standard unguided Hydra 70 (2.75-inch) rockets into highly accurate precision munitions by easily screwing into place between the warhead and the motor,” the company said.

“We’re delivering ahead of schedule even with the growing demand. Our APKWS rockets are critical to the mission success of our U.S. government and allied nation customers,” Rachel Guill, director of Precision Guidance Solutions at BAE Systems, said in a statement.

The APKWS has been used by the Marine Corps as a Navy program of record since 2012 and has been qualified or demonstrated on over 14 rotary and fixed wing aircraft. The APKWS can be used with Mk 66 Mod 4 rocket motors and M151/MK152 warheads and fired from 2.75 inch rocket launchers the Navy said in fiscal year 2017 budget documents.

Last month BAE said production of the APKWS is one of the main drivers of the company’s growth outlook in its Electronic Systems segment this year, along with work on the F-35 and the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System for Air Force F-15 fighters (Defense Daily, May 5).

The Navy’s FY 2018 budget requested 1,210 APKWS G&C sections for $36.1 million. Each APKWS costs under $30,000 and fluctuates depending on total procurement, budget documents said. This is a small increase over the FY 2017 budget of 1,060 APKWS G&C sections for $31 million.