ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy program office partnering with Maryland-based BAE Systems announced the test firing of two guided Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System rockets.
The two APKWS rockets were fired from a U.S. Marine Corps Cobra helicopter and marked the first flights of the precision-guided weapon from an aircraft.
The tests are an effort to demonstrate that APKWS can be launched from the Cobra platform without requiring aircraft integration or modifications and are compatible with the Cobra's carriage and launch systems.
APKWS is a low-cost precision munition system that adapts a standard 2.75-inch unguided rocket into a highly precise, laser-guided weapon capable of engaging unarmored and lightly armored targets.
"Today's flights demonstrate that APKWS performs as designed, and that it meets requirements specified by warfighters in combat," said Michelle McBride, co-leader of the Navy's APKWS project team, in a statement. "The Marines have expressed a clear need for a low-cost precision-guided weapon, and these flights confirm the system is nearly ready for fielding."
Following the launches, both APKWS rockets were guided by a laser designator to a ground target striking the target board well within accuracy requirements established by the Army and Marine Corps.
"We are committed to protecting the warfighters who protect us,” said Frank Wilson, vice president and general manager of precision targeting at BAE Systems. "APKWS is a simple, effective weapon. To use it, the combat teams just screw the mid-body guidance section between the rocket motor and the warhead and load it into a 2.75-inch rocket launcher, and it’s ready to shoot.”