Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has awarded BAE Systems a new $59.9 million contract for additional advanced precision kill weapon systems, or APKWSTM guidance kits.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy requested the APKSTM guidance kits from BAE Systems in order to transform the Department of Defense's standard rocket mutations, the Hydra 70 into laser-guided precision munitions as the growing demand for cost-effective solutions increases amid the concern over civilian casualties and unnecessary collateral damage.
The additional request comes just after a $180.5 million award contract and is apart of a 2016 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract between BAE Systems and the Pentagon for more than $600 million, according to a BAE Systems press release.
The current Defense Department Hydra 70 rocket is a 2.75-inch fin-stabilized unguided munition that is primarily used for air-to-ground deployment against soft and lightly armored targets in confined areas while minimizing collateral damage. The Hydra 70 can be equipped with a variety of warheads for training scenarios or set time detonation. In July, BAE Systems delivered its 10,000th APKWS guidance unit.
"APKWS guidance kits are easy to use, cost-effective, and precise, and they seamlessly integrate with existing munitions and platforms," said Rachel Guill, director of Precision Guidance Solutions at BAE Systems. "Our customers are demanding APKWS because of their extreme precision and mission effectiveness."
BAE Systems says the APKWS rockets "bridges the gap between unguided rockets for area suppression and larger more expensive anti-armor munitions," while "minimizing collateral damage."
The APKWS laser-guidance kits will be installed on multiple airborne platforms -- including A-10 Thunderbolt II, AH-64 Apache, AH-1W/Z Super Cobra/Viper, AV-8B Harrier, F-16 Fighting Falcon, UH-1Y Venom, and other fixed- and rotary-wing platforms, said a BAE Systems press release.
Under current defense Department regulations, the APKWS rockets are the only guided 2.75-inch rockets qualified for use by all four branches of the armed forces.