U.S. Air Force tests BAE rocket

April 3, 2013 at 12:07 PM

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., April 3 (UPI) -- A light-weight, long-range precision rocket from BAE Systems has successfully been tested on an A-10 Thunderbolt II by the U.S. Air force.

The weapon is the laser-guided Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II, which had previously been used in Afghanistan by U.S. Marine Corps helicopters.

In the Air Force tests at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the rockets were launched at altitudes 10,000 feet and 15,000 feet and hit within inches of the target, the Air Force said.

"Rockets are a staple close air support weapon but their weakness has always been their poor accuracy when shot at range," said Maj. Travis Burton, the A-10 pilot who performed the APKWS tests. "In improving rocket accuracy by several orders of magnitude, the APKWS makes the rocket a better weapon for today's low-intensity conflicts, where minimizing collateral damage is a top priority."

The tests were the first for the weapon by a fixed-wing aircraft.

Tests next month at China Lake Test Range, Calif., will feature the firing of 22 rockets from an A-10 and an F-16 at both moving and stationary targets.

The U.S. Navy is also testing the system on a fixed-wing aircraft and it is hoped it will become operational in 2015.

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