Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System Aces Helicopter Testing

NASHUA, New Hamp­shire —The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps recent­ly suc­cess­ful­ly fired the first shots of the Advanced Pre­ci­sion Kill Weapon Sys­tem II (APKWS) from a UH-1Y heli­copter, in prepa­ra­tion for field­ing in 2012.

The APKWS is one step clos­er to pro­tect­ing men and women in combat. 

The suc­cess­ful shots, which took place at Naval Air War­fare Cen­ter Weapons Divi­sion in Chi­na Lake, Cal­i­for­nia, Sept. 9–13, mark the start of APKWS test­ing on the UH-1Y, and are part of the program’s low-rate ini­tial pro­duc­tion phase. 

Devel­oped by BAE Sys­tems in part­ner­ship with the U.S. gov­ern­ment, the APKWS semi-active laser guid­ance sec­tion inte­grates with exist­ing 2.75-inch rock­et motors and war­heads, giv­ing avi­a­tors a high­ly pre­cise weapon that is effec­tive against soft and light­ly armored tar­gets while min­i­miz­ing col­lat­er­al dam­age. BAE Sys­tems designed the system’s laser guid­ance and con­trol section. 

Dur­ing the tests, Marine pilots fired a total of six shots from a UH-1Y against sta­tion­ary tar­gets with ranges vary­ing from 1.5 to 5 kilo­me­ters. The ini­tial shots from UH-1Y mark the first time a MK152 war­head has been fired from any air­craft, allow­ing safer oper­a­tion aboard ships than the pre­vi­ous M151 warhead. 

“I am very excit­ed to bring this new capa­bil­i­ty to our Marines in com­bat,” said Cap­tain Bri­an Corey, Pro­gram Man­ag­er, PMA-242. “This high­ly effec­tive weapon will allow avi­a­tors to com­plete their mis­sions while min­i­miz­ing the risk of harm to allies and non-combatants.” 

APKWS brings three essen­tial oper­a­tional ben­e­fits to those in com­bat. First, the BAE Sys­tems guid­ance sec­tion is designed for com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with cur­rent 2.75-inch rock­et motors, war­heads, and fuzes, enhanc­ing the capa­bil­i­ty of the exist­ing 100,000-unit inven­to­ry of unguid­ed rock­ets. Sec­ond, the sys­tem pro­vides the low­est col­lat­er­al dam­age for pre­ci­sion engage­ment, while at the same time giv­ing the mil­i­tary greater flex­i­bil­i­ty to engage the ene­my. Final­ly, the unit cost is on track to meet the Navy’s objec­tive against low­er val­ue targets. 

BAE Sys­tems is focused on get­ting APKWS to the warfight­er next year,” said John Watkins, direc­tor of Mis­sile & Muni­tions Solu­tions in Nashua, where the system’s laser guid­ance and con­trol sec­tion is built. “APKWS will pro­vide an evo­lu­tion­ary step in the lethal­i­ty and util­i­ty of the UH-1Y. For the first time, the UH-1Y will have the abil­i­ty to autonomous­ly pro­vide pre­ci­sion guid­ed muni­tions, dra­mat­i­cal­ly increas­ing its effec­tive­ness against armored and rein­forced tar­gets while decreas­ing col­lat­er­al damage.” 

The Navy assumed acqui­si­tion over­sight of the APKWS pro­gram in 2008. In addi­tion to its planned use on rotary-wing plat­forms, the Navy has entered into a Joint Con­cept Tech­nol­o­gy Demon­stra­tion pro­gram with the U.S. Air Force to eval­u­ate the suit­abil­i­ty of APKWS for fixed-wing platforms. 

APKWS entered the first phase of pro­duc­tion test­ing at Chi­na Lake’s facil­i­ty last month. A launch­er suc­cess­ful­ly fired two laser-guid­ed rock­ets and hit a sta­tion­ary tar­get. The test fir­ings ini­ti­at­ed a sequence of tests that allow the Navy to accept the guid­ance sec­tions for Ini­tial Oper­a­tional Test and Eval­u­a­tion, the final test phase pri­or to field­ing the system. 

Ini­tial Oper­at­ing Capa­bil­i­ty of APKWS on the Marine Corps AH-1W and UH-1Y heli­copters is sched­uled for the spring of year 2012. 

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, please contact: 

Karen Spiller, BAE Sys­tems
Tel: +1 603 885 2818 Mobile: +1 603 566 2090

BAE Sys­tems

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