The Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) has successfully tested BAE Systems’ APKWS® laser-guidance kits in a counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) mission. The testing against Class-2 UAS paves the way for fielding of the precision-guided rockets to partner nations around the globe. During the Department of Defense-led exercise at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, the 70 mm APKWS-guided rockets demonstrated 100 percent effectiveness when fired against 25 to 50 pound drones traveling at more than 100 miles an hour. The APKWS C-UAS solution is platform agnostic, permitting multiple options to accelerate fielding.
APKWS transforms unguided rockets into smart munitions for precision strikes on soft and lightly armored targets. A newly developed proximity fuze for the standard M151 warhead allows the laser-guidance kits to target Class 2 and Class 3 drones, which typically weigh less than 55 pounds. The fuze retains the legacy point denotation capability for maximum flexibility of the weapon in the field. APKWS now enables rockets to engage and destroy drones at a fraction of the cost of existing C-UAS systems with unprecedented precision.
“Our engineers’ passion for APKWS technology led to the development of this new product designed to meet drones head-on,” said Aimee D’Onofrio, a director of Precision Guidance and Sensing Solutions at BAE Systems. “This is a solution that comes at a remarkably affordable price point, and with APKWS already at full-rate production, we can ramp up to 25,000 units per year to make an immediate impact.”
The AGR-20 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guidance kits are produced at BAE Systems’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Hudson, New Hampshire. The kits are available to all U.S. armed forces, as well as allies via Foreign Military Sales. The winning bidder for the APKWS II contract was the team of BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, beating the offerings from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Systems. This configuration allows existing warheads from the Hydra 70 system to be used without the need for a laser seeker in the missile nose.