NASHUA, New Hampshire — BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS™) laser-guided rocket completed another major milestone when it was fired for the first time from an AH-64D Apache helicopter during flight testing. The flight test was performed under a company initiative to obtain an Airworthiness Qualification on Apache for the purpose of future international sales. The APKWS laser-guided rocket bridges the gap between unguided rockets and larger guided anti-armor munitions.
“With the Apache demonstration, the APKWS rocket has now been successfully tested on almost a dozen fixed and rotary wing platforms,” said David Harrold, director of precision guidance solutions at BAE Systems. “In particular, the final shot from the Apache hit within inches of the laser spot — despite the rocket and warhead being visibly scorched from two adjacent firings. This latest test demonstrates the precision and advanced capability that a guided 2.75-inch rocket will bring to Apache aviators.”
During recent testing, the U.S. Army shot eight APKWS rockets from an AH-64D Apache at extreme flight configurations with airspeeds up to 150 knots and at distances of up to five kilometers from the target. The launch altitudes ranged from 300 feet to 1500 feet above ground level. Highlighting the ease of integration, which can be critical to successful deployment and weapon adoption, the APKWS rocket was installed on the Apache without modification to the platform or software.
As the U.S. military’s only guided 2.75-inch (70 millimeter) rocket program of record, the APKWS rocket required only eight test shots to meet the full airworthiness requirements.
At one-third the cost and weight of other precision weapons in inventory, the APKWS rocket is an ideal weapon for today’s fiscal environment. BAE Systems is the prime contractor for the APKWS rocket, which is available to international customers through foreign military sale. In addition to U.S. Army reliance on rotary wing aircraft, the AH-64 Apache is a primary attack helicopter of multiple nations, including the United Kingdom, Greece, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, and Singapore.
Paul Roberts, BAE Systems
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