US Army procures APKWS laser-guided rockets 41410152

Defence & Security News - (Country News)
US Army procures APKWS laser-guided rockets
The United States Army has procured its first batch of BAE Systems’ APKWS rockets to equip its Boeing AH-64 attack helicopters. The rockets will be provided to the deployed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus, the US Army will become the next armed service, after the US Navy and the USMC to deploy this weapon in combat operations.
US Army procures APKWS laser-guided rockets
A US Army AH-64 Apache firing an APKWS laser-guided rocket (Source: BAE Systems)

This initial number of rockets will be received from the inventory of the Navy. Nevertheless, the two services along with BAE Systems will work on acquiring additional rockets to meet the ongoing demands.

“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,” said David Harrold, director of precision guidance solutions at BAE Systems. “The cooperation between military branches has been tremendous. 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.”

It is expected that the Army will immediately deploy the APKWS rocket, which is a mid-body guidance kit that transforms a standard unguided munition into a precision laser-guided rocket, on its AH-64 Apache while additional platform priorities are determined.

While initially designed to the meet U.S. Army requirements, the APKWS system is a U.S. Navy program of record and has been deployed in combat by the Marines since 2012. The system’s ‘plug and play’ design makes it highly tailorable and scalable for future needs and allows streamlined deployment on a variety of platforms using existing equipment and infrastructure. In fact, the APKWS laser-guided rocket has already been qualified or demonstrated on more than a dozen rotary and fixed-wing platforms.

Currently in its third year of full rate production and with 5,000 units built to date, the APKWS rocket is the only U.S. Department of Defense fully qualified, guided 2.75-inch rocket that uses semi-active laser guidance technology.