March 7 (UPI) -- The Defense Department has awarded a $13.7 million contract to BAE Systems to increase the production of the company's advanced precision kill weapon system guidance kits.
The APKWS kits effectively turn unguided rockets into precision-guided missiles, and have been in full production for about six years.
BAE's new contract, announced Tuesday by the Department of Defense, will pay for equipment to increase the company's production capacity for the kits.
Work on the contract will occur in Hudson, N.H., and is expected to be completed in by April 2019.
The Pentagon has obligated the full value of the contract to BAE from fiscal 2016 special defense acquisition funds, Air Force fiscal 2017 procurement ammunition funds and fiscal 2018 Navy, Army and Marine Corps procurement ammunition funds. Of awarded funds, $2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
All four branches of the U.S. military use APKWS guidance kits for upgrades to 2.75-inch Hydra-70 unguided rockets, which have been outfitted on A-10 Thunderbolt II, AH-64 Apache, AH-1W/Z Super Cobra/Viper, AV-8B Harrier, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the UH-1Y Venom, among other aircraft.
To date, BAE says it has delivered more than 10,000 APKWS guidance kits.