General Dynamics Wins $3.4 Billion Order to Produce Hydra-70 Rockets for US Army
General Dynamics Wins $3.4 Billion Order to Produce Hydra-70 Rockets for US Army

General Dynamics Wins $3.4 Billion Order to Produce Hydra-70 Rockets for US Army

General Dynamics-OTS, Williston, Vermont, was awarded a $3,420,531,156 hybrid contract for production and engineering services for Hydra-70 rocket systems. The number of Hydra-70 in each order was not specified in the DoD release Friday. General Dynamics has produced more than five million Hydra-70 rockets since 1996 in support of the Army’s Joint Attack Munition Systems Project Office. Hydra-70 fires from the existing seven and 19-tube launchers and can be mounted on most rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, including Apache, Cobra, and F-16. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2026. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

U.S. Army Pfc. Jazel Yadao, AH-64 Apache attack helicopter repairer, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division slides a Hydra 70 air-to-surface rocket into a rocket pod on an Apache at Taji Airbase, Iraq.(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class R.W. Lemmons IV)

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems is the system integrator of the 2.75-inch (70mm) Hydra-70 family of rockets. These rockets include unitary and cargo warheads for use against point and area targets, providing the user a lethal and lightweight weapon system with multi-mission capability. The rocket system contains three components: the MK66 MOD 4 rocket motor, one of the nine warheads, and the associated point-detonating, omni-directional, remote-set fuze(s). When these components are combined, they provide a tailor-made solution to the warfighter’s situational requirements. Hydra-70 provides the Army with affordable firepower matched to the mission for effective engagements and area suppression of a long list of lower-value targets on the battlefield.

U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Group, 130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion load Hydra 70 rockets onto an AH-64D Apache helicopter March 4, 2017, at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Shelby Kay-Fantozzi/released)

In the U.S. Army, Hydra 70 rockets are fired from the AH-64A Apache and AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters using M261 19-tube rocket launchers, and the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior using seven-tube M260 rocket launchers. The M260 and M261 are used with the Mk 66 series of rocket motor, which replaced the Mk 40 series. The Mk 66 has a reduced system weight and provides a remote fuze setting interface. Hydra 70s have also been fired from UH-60 and AH-6 series aircraft in US Army service. The war reserve unitary and cargo warheads are used for anti-materiel, anti-personnel, and suppression missions. The Hydra 70 family of folding-fin aerial rockets also includes smoke screening, illumination, and training warheads. Hydra 70 rockets are known mainly by either their warhead type or by the rocket motor designation, Mk 66 in US military service.

An AH-64 Apache from 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division fires a Hydra 70 rocket during a joint Gunnery Qualification Table XII. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Patrick Eakin)

The Hydra 70 rocket is a 2.75-inch (70 mm) diameter fin-stabilized unguided rocket used primarily in the air-to-ground role. It can be equipped with a variety of warheads, and in more recent versions, guidance systems for point attacks. The Hydra is widely used by US and allied forces, competing with the Canadian CRV-7, with which it is physically interchangeable. The Hydra 70 is derived from the 2.75-inch (70 mm) diameter Mk 4/Mk 40 Folding-Fin Aerial Rocket developed by the United States Navy for use as a free-flight aerial rocket in the late 1940s. The Mk 40 was used during the Korean and Vietnam wars to provide close air support to ground forces from about 20 different firing platforms, both fixed-wing and armed helicopters.

A U.S. Army AH-64E Apache helicopter assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division fires a Hydra 70 rocket during a combined arms live-fire exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Brian Harris)