NASHUA, N.H., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps recently successfully fired the first shots of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II from a UH-1Y helicopter.
The shots, which took place at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif., 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 six shots from a UH-1Y against stationary targets.
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 fuses, 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 giving the military greater flexibility to engage enemies. 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 and Munitions Solutions in Nashua, N.H., 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."
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.