June 1 (UPI) -- A ground-to-ground test of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System rocket, normally launched from the air, was a success, BAE Systems announced on Monday.
The tests were conducted at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona, with APKWS rockets fired from a launcher built specifically for ground vehicles by Missouri-based Arnold Defense and Electronics LLC.
The U.S. Navy also collaborated in the tests, BAE said.
BAE built the standard 2.75-inch [70 mm] laser-guided test rockets, which are regarded as about one-third the cost of similar rockets.
At 73.8 inches in length and weighing 32 pounds each, the "Fletcher" rockets are normally fired air-to-ground or air-to-air, from an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms. Four branches of the US. military, and over a dozen allies, use the rocket.
"Our customers see the value in low-cost,precision-strike capabilities that reduce the risk of collateral damage, and they want the flexibility to deliver them from the platform of their choice," Greg Procopio, director of precision guidance and sensing solutions at BAE Systems, said in a press release. "Demand is growing for ground-to-ground precision munitions that provide a safe standoff distance for small ground units. We're working closely with our customer and partners to deliver that capability."
Ground-launched APKWS rockets could provide engagement of soft and lightly armored targets and are suitable for tactical lightweight vehicles,remote weapon stations, non-standard tactical vehicles, and stationary platforms, the company said.
BAE has worked to increase the flexibility of the system, and in 2019 the U.S. Air Force successfully tested it for missile defense.
Over 35,000 APKWS units have been delivered since it entered service in 2012.