General Dynamics has unveiled its latest high-explosive anti-tank anti-Personnel Anti-Material (HEAT APAM) warhead for Hydra 2.75 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) Guided Rocket. The live fire tests were performed at the Mile High Range in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Facilitating the new capability is a newly developed proximity fuze for APKWS rockets, jointly developed by L3Harris Technologies and Technology Service Corporation, capable of both proximity detonation and point detonation modes. The new fuze is a drop-in replacement for the existing M423 fuzes used in the rockets, with the rockets used in the tests retaining their standard M151 warheads and Mk66 motors.
The AGR-20 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) II is becoming the air-launched weapon of choice of many current operational scenarios due to its precision and high load out. Incorporating a shaped-charge warhead could expand its armor target set. To ensure flexibility by reducing the need for multiple types of AGR-20 variants during operations, maintaining a significant level of anti-personnel/anti-material performance is also desired with the shaped-charge warhead. This initiative envisions the design and production of HEAT/APAM shaped-charged warheads for use in performance and suitability evaluations for the AGR-20 APKWS II. Mil-Std 1316 compliant fuzing for AGR-20 APKWS will be handled under a different initiative.
The APKWS configuration allows existing warheads from the Hydra 70 system to be used without the need for a laser seeker in the missile nose. An APKWS-equipped rocket was fitted with a proximity fuze and destroyed a Class 2 UAS. The proximity fuze enables it to intercept UAS at a lower cost than other methods, and due to the rocket’s laser guidance that activates on launch, it does not require locking on to the target before launch. VAMPIRE is designed to complement the low-cost, low-signature, and availability of common NTVs and fit in any pickup or vehicle with a cargo bed. Installation can be completed in approximately two hours by two people using common tools. The power supply eliminates the need for a 24-volt alternator on the vehicle.
The AGR-20 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) is a design conversion of Hydra 70 unguided rockets with a laser guidance kit to turn them into precision-guided munitions (PGMs). APKWS is approximately one-third the cost and one-third the weight of the current inventory of laser-guided weapons have a lower yield more suitable for avoiding collateral damage and takes one-quarter of the time for ordnance personnel to load and unload. The APKWS II uses the Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) technology. This system allows a laser seeker to be located on the leading edge of each of the forward control canards, working in unison as if they were a single seeker.