USAF deploys APKWS on F-16s

 

08 June 2016

Key Points

  • The USAF has fielded APKWS laser-guided rockets on an F-16 in combat
  • The deployment was the first combat use of the weapon from a USAF fixed-wing platform

The US Air Force (USAF) has fielded BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets on a Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon in combat operations, the company announced on 7 June.

The recent deployment was the first combat use of the weapon from a USAF fixed-wing platform, the company said. A spokesman for BAE Systems declined to say where or when the weapon was used. US Army Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters have also used the APKWS in combat, and the US Marine Corps (USMC) recently tested it on the Boeing/BAE Systems AV-8B Harrier II fixed-wing combat aircraft.

Original post @janes.com

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APKWS Laser-Guided Rocket

Gfycat user NeedySnappyGalapagoshawk @popularmechanics.com

Currently in its third year of full rate production, the APKWS rocket is the only U.S. Department of Defense fully qualified guided 2.75-inch rocket. It uses semi-active laser guidance technology to strike both soft and lightly armored targets in confined areas, providing greater accuracy and mission effectiveness.

Developed as a highly cost-effective solution that leverages the military’s existing infrastructure and inventory – and inspired by real combat challenges, the APKWS rocket has served the needs of our U.S. armed forces with a 93 percent hit rate. Building on in- theater success by the U.S. Marines Corps, program officials from the U.S. Navy have now made the APKWS rocket available to U.S. allies by way of foreign military sales process.

The APKWS laser-guided rocket demonstrates extreme precision, reliability, and versatility in theater and in testing. The system also provides new combat capabilities for air, ground, and sea-based platforms.

  • Better than 93% hit rate
  • Demonstrated on more than 12 platforms
  • No modifications to the rocket, firing platform or fire control/launcher system needed
  • Minimal training needed for the crew

Data @baesystems.com

BAE Systems proposed another design, mounting the laser sensors on the stabilizers. As the stabilizers are recessed into the rocket body until it clears the launch tube, the sensitive seekers are also protected from environmental and thermal effects of the launch. The weapon retains both the original Mk66 Mod 4 rocket motor and M151 / Mk 152 4.53 kg (10-pound) high-explosive warhead adding the 18.5 inches (47cm) long integrated targeting and guidance section between the two segments. The overall length of the extended rocket is 1.87 m (73.8 inches) and its weight is 14.8 kg (32.6 pounds).

The ‘plug in’ integration of the new guidance system enables the use of existing rockets without changes to existing components. Photo: BAE Systems.The ‘plug in’ integration of the new guidance system enables the use of existing rockets without changes to existing components. Photo: BAE Systems. @defense-update.comapkws inside guidanceBAE Systems’ imagery of the guidance section that turns the unguided Hydra rocket into a precision weapon. Note the laser seekers on each of the fins, which direct the flaperons at the fins’ trailing edges. BAE Systems imagery @defensemedianetwork.com

The upgrading of the standard 2.75" rocket into APKWS using the plug-in assembly.

The upgrading of the standard 2.75″ rocket into APKWS using the plug-in assembly.This design proved superior to nose mounted seekers, as it offered important advantages, such as easier ‘plug in’ integration of the new system (without the need to move or change the warhead). Fiber-optic cables, enabling fast and reliable connectivity, link the seekers to the processor. With no modifications to the rocket (except for the addition of ‘plug-in’ guidance kit), the firing platform or fire control/launcher systems also remain intact, supporting the new precision fires capability.

In 2009 the Navy selected BAE Systems as a prime contractor for the weapon’s development and Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) and, by mid 2012 approved the program for full rate production. To date BAE Systems delivered more than 5,000 rockets; more than 100 were used in combat, particularly by the US Marine corps in Afghanistan. Following the endorsement of the US services, the Pentagon has made the APKWS rocket available for export under the foreign military sales (FMS) process. Source @defense-update.com

Image @defenceindustrydaily.com
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