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APKWS fired successfully off of fixed-wing aircraft

The APKWS rocket is loaded into its launcher.
The semi-active laser guided version of the U.S. military’s Hydra rocket successfully hit within inches of the center of its laser spot target after it was fired off a Hawker Beechcraft AT-6C from a range of three miles.

This successful test, which BAE Systems accomplished in record time, highlights the potential of APKWS as a low-cost weapon system for reconnaissance and attack aircraft throughout the world.

The test was conducted in late January at the Eglin AFB test range in Florida, demonstrating  the “unpack and shoot” flexibility of the weapon system.

“APKWS has proved itself to be precise, affordable, versatile, and lethal,” said Roy Rumbaugh, program manager for Missiles & Munitions Solutions at BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H., where the laser guidance section is built. “The user can plug and play with the existing components, and point and shoot this weapon system like a regular Hydra rocket.”

The APKWS, the government’s only program of record for the semi-active laser-guided 2.75-inch rocket, has previously been concentrated in rotary-wing aircraft, including the AH-1W Cobra and the UH-1Y Huey. BAE Systems, which has been the APKWS prime contractor since 2006, also has demonstrated the APKWS capability on the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, with positive results in both integration and demonstration tests.

Ref. 032/2012