Recent tests at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida – deemed successful by U.S. Army and Navy representatives – illustrate the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System’s exceptional capability to engage targets at close range and penetrate complex targets.
“This weapon, now deployed in Afghanistan, continues to prove it is a precise rapid-fire missile system, available at one-third of the cost and one-third of the weight of the existing inventory of laser-guided weapons,” said John Watkins, director of Precision Guidance Solutions for BAE Systems. “These tests demonstrated APKWS’ ability to hit targets at close range and penetrate complex targets in urban terrain, which is vital when supporting troops on the ground.”
Using inert M282 warheads with unmodified flight software, APKWS engaged six targets from airborne helicopters at ranges of 1.5 to 4 kilometers. All six shots hit the target less than a meter from the laser spot. During two live warhead ground shots, APKWS rockets with the M282 warheads penetrated a triple brick wall and an M114 armored personnel carrier.
Using standard M151 warheads, APKWS engaged targets from airborne helicopters at ranges of 1.1 and 1.2 kilometers. APKWS engaged four additional targets with M151 warheads at various ranges and off-axis angles from 0 to 14 degrees. All six APKWS shots with M151 warheads hit the target less than a meter from the laser spot. Based on these results, the system’s off-axis performance was verified and its short-range performance expanded from the threshold specification of 1.5 kilometers down to 1.1 kilometers.
BAE Systems manufactures the weapon, which was shot for the first time in combat operations in Afghanistan from AH-1W and UH-1Y helicopters supporting U.S. Marine Corps ground forces in March. The system’s semi-active laser guidance section integrates with existing 2.75-inch (70mm) rocket motors and warheads to provide precision engagement of soft and lightly armored targets and very low collateral damage.
APKWS can be fired from any helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft that can launch 2.75-inch rockets. BAE Systems fired its first APKWS from a fixed-wing aircraft, a Hawker Beechcraft AT-6C, in January. APKWS is qualified on the AH-1W and UH-1Y helicopters, and BAE Systems anticipates that the U.S. military will expand its use to other platforms, including the MQ-8B Fire Scout and the armed MH-60B.
Video -- View the video of the test by clicking the video icon above the photo at top.
Photos -- View additional photos of the test by clicking the slideshow link at right.