BAE System has successfully tested Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) short-range accuracy and penetrator warhead performance for the US Navy and Army at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, US.
BAE Systems Precision Guidance Solutions director John Watkins said that the test validated APKWS' capability to strike the targets at close range and penetrate complex targets in urban terrain.
"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," Watkins added.
During the tests, the APKWS used inert M282 warheads with unmodified flight software to strike six targets from airborne helicopters at ranges of 1.5 to 4km.
The APKWS rocket's warheads successfully penetrated into a M114 armoured personnel carrier and a triple brick wall during the demonstration.
The precision weapon system also used standard M151 warheads to hit four additional targets at different ranges and off-axis angles from 0 to 14 degrees from airborne helicopters.
The system validated its off-axis performance and short-range performance from the threshold specification of 1.5km down to 1.1km.
In January 2012, the APKWS demonstrated its capabilities on fixed-wing aircraft during flight tests and was transferred to Afghanistan in early March 2012 for deployment.
Featuring the BAE-built mid-body guidance unit (WGU-59/B), APKWS is a semi-active laser guided 2.75-inch version of the existing Hydra 70 unguided rocket system.
The guidance kit can change a standard unguided rocket into a laser-guided missile that minimises collateral damage and is effective against lightly armoured targets.
BAE Systems has served as the prime contractor for the APKWS since 2008 and has delivered 400 production systems to the Navy.
Image: APKWS detonates an armoured personnel carrier using M282 warhead at Eglin Air Force Base. Photo: BAE Systems.