BAE Systems Advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS)
BAE Systems Advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS)

US State Department Approves $31 Million Sale of APKWS-II to United Kingdom

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Kingdom of Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System-II for an estimated cost of $31.2 million. The Government of the United Kingdom has requested to buy up to seven hundred sixty-eight (768) Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System-II (APKWS-II) All Up Round (AURs). Also included is support equipment; spare and repair parts; publications and technical documentation; transportation; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

The proposed sale will improve the United Kingdom’s capability to meet current and future threats by ensuring its aviation forces’ interoperability with United States and other allied forces as well as its ability to contribute to missions of mutual interest. By deploying the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, the United Kingdom would contribute to global readiness and enhance the capability for U.S. forces operating globally alongside them. The United Kingdom will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. The principal contractors will be BAE Systems, Nashua, New Hampshire.

British Army Air Corps AgustaWestland Apache Attack Helicopter launch formations of up to eight Apaches from their base at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk to find and strike targets on land. (Photo by British Army/ Crown copyright)

The United Kingdom look set to add the APKWS II, likely to equip the British Army Air Corps’ (AAC’s) Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter. The APKWS II uses the Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) technology. This system allows a laser seeker to be located in the leading edge of each of the forward control canards, working in unison as if they were a single seeker. Firing ranges are 1,100-5,000 meters, the former of which can be hit less than 5 seconds after firing. Maximum range is constrained by use of the existing Hydra 70 motor, but since the seeker can see as far as 14 km (8.7 mi).

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, has a lower yield more suitable for avoiding collateral damage, and takes one quarter of the time for ordnance personnel to load and unload. 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.