Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System Enters Low-Rate Initial Production

NASHUA, New Hamp­shire — BAE Sys­tems has signed a low-rate ini­tial pro­duc­tion (LRIP) con­tract with the U.S. Navy for the Advanced Pre­ci­sion Kill Weapon Sys­tem (APKWS) — a low-cost guid­ance kit that trans­forms stan­dard unguid­ed rock­ets into smart, high­ly pre­cise laser-guid­ed mis­siles.

The U.S. Marine Corps will ini­tial­ly deploy APKWS from AH-1W Cobra helicopters. 

“Any time I have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk to our men and women in uni­form, I hear about the press­ing need for the capa­bil­i­ty afford­ed by APKWS,” said John Watkins, direc­tor of mis­sile and muni­tions solu­tions for BAE Sys­tems in Nashua, New Hamp­shire, where the guid­ance sec­tion is built. “With the sign­ing of this LRIP con­tract, we’re one step clos­er to pro­tect­ing those men and women in combat.” 

Devel­oped by BAE Sys­tems in part­ner­ship with the U.S. gov­ern­ment, APKWS pro­vides avi­a­tors with a high­ly pre­cise weapon that is effec­tive against soft and light­ly armored tar­gets while min­i­miz­ing col­lat­er­al dam­age — impor­tant in urban areas and oth­er sit­u­a­tions in which non com­bat­ants or friend­ly forces are near hos­tile tar­gets. BAE Sys­tems designed the system’s laser guid­ance and con­trol section. 

The U.S. Navy declared that the sys­tem is ready for pro­duc­tion in April. The deci­sion, known as “Mile­stone C (MS C),” was approved fol­low­ing a rig­or­ous series of flight, com­po­nent, and all up-round qual­i­fi­ca­tion tests. With the com­ple­tion of the devel­op­ment pro­gram and the Navy’s MS C deci­sion, APKWS has been estab­lished as the U.S. Navy’s Pro­gram of Record to meet warfight­er urgent require­ments for a laser-guid­ed 2.75-inch rocket. 

The final series of flight tests, which cul­mi­nat­ed in a per­fect 8‑for‑8 score in a series designed and con­duct­ed by Marine test pilots, demon­strat­ed that the system’s accu­ra­cy exceeds gov­ern­ment require­ments. Through­out its eight-year his­to­ry of flight tests, APKWS has hit the intend­ed tar­gets an aver­age dis­tance from the cen­ter of the laser spot less than two meters. In both devel­op­men­tal test­ing and oper­a­tional assess­ment, APKWS was fired off U.S. Marine Corps AH-1W Cobra helicopters. 

APKWS brings three essen­tial oper­a­tional ben­e­fits to those in com­bat. First, the BAE Sys­tems guid­ance sec­tion is designed to be com­pat­i­ble with cur­rent 2.75-inch rock­et motors, war­heads, and fuzes, enhanc­ing the capa­bil­i­ty of the exist­ing approx­i­mate­ly 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. 

The Navy assumed acqui­si­tion exec­u­tive over­sight of the APKWS pro­gram in 2008 to com­plete the Sys­tem Devel­op­ment and Demon­stra­tion phase pri­or to the MS C deci­sion. In addi­tion to its planned use on rotary-wing plat­forms, the Navy has entered into a Joint Coop­er­a­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Demon­stra­tion pro­gram with the U.S. Air Force to eval­u­ate the suit­abil­i­ty of APKWS for fixed-wing platforms. 

Full-rate pro­duc­tion of the sys­tem is expect­ed to fol­low from mid-to late 2012, and may entail the expan­sion of exist­ing BAE Sys­tems pro­duc­tion facil­i­ties, depend­ing on demand. 

BAE Sys­tems has been the APKWS prime con­trac­tor since 2006. 

About BAE Sys­tems

BAE Sys­tems is a glob­al defense, secu­ri­ty and aero­space com­pa­ny with approx­i­mate­ly 107,000 employ­ees world­wide. The Com­pa­ny deliv­ers a full range of prod­ucts and ser­vices for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced elec­tron­ics, secu­ri­ty, infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy solu­tions and cus­tomer sup­port ser­vices. In 2009 BAE Sys­tems report­ed sales of £22.4 bil­lion (US$ 36.2 billion). 

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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