The Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) recently achieved a first shot success from a fixed-wing aircraft, BAE Systems announced today.
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.
“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.”
This APKWS flight test, which was held in late January at the Eglin AFB test range in Florida, demonstrated the “unpack and shoot” flexibility of the weapon system. During the testing,
BAE Systems personnel were able to quickly convert unguided Hydras supplied by the U.S. Air Force into APKWS guided munitions and load them onto the aircraft. It took just three hours to assemble two test rounds, load them into the aircraft launchers, fly the mission, and complete the successful shot.
Immediately prior to the guided rocket shot, an unguided round in the same launcher was fired to demonstrate the robust APKWS advantage of its sealed, mid-body design to withstand the harsh, real-world environment of adjacent rocket firings.
“APKWS had never been integrated on this aircraft before. This independent test on the AT-6C was the first demonstration of the APKWS capability on a fixed-wing aircraft for the fixed-wing community,” Rumbaugh added.
In addition, BAE Systems is upgrading the APKWS design to operate in the expanded flight envelopes of high-performance Navy and Air Force aircraft under contract for the Fixed-Wing APKWS Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program.
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.
Source: BAE Systems PLC (LSE: BAES.L)
Date: Feb 21, 2012