Tuesday, April 16, 2024

BAE Systems tests APKWS laser-guided rockets to destroy airborne drones

BAE Systems has successfully tested Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket in precision strike tests against Class 2 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) at Yuma Proving Grounds.

For the demonstration, BAE took a 70mm/2.75 inch test rocket combined with standard M151 warheads and Mk66 motors with APKWS precision guidance kits and a proximity fuze, enabling them to engage and destroy airborne drones at a fraction of the cost of traditional counter-UAS (C-UAS) strike capabilities. The rocket includes advanced Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) seeker optics located on all four guidance wings.

The company says the APKWS laser-guided rocket does not need to lock on the target before launch. Instead, it relies on semi-active laser guidance optics that activate on launch, saving warfighters precious seconds when it counts. Once fired, the wings deploy, and the optics lock-in, guiding the rocket to the target – delivering accuracy when it matters most.

The key to APKWS rockets’ counter-UAS capability is the innovative proximity fuze jointly developed by L3Harris Technologies and Technology Service Corporation. The fuse combines target proximity detection and point detonation capabilities and is a drop-in replacement for existing M423 fuzes – allowing APKWS rockets to destroy UASs without the need for actually hitting them.

“Unmanned Aerial Vehicles of all sizes are a growing threat increasingly deployed by adversaries around the globe,” said Greg Procopio, director of Precision Guidance and Sensing Systems at BAE Systems. “The flexibility and affordability of APKWS rockets make them a good choice for taking out small, tactical military drones. Our successful test strikes demonstrate the creativity of our engineers and innovative and economical use of existing DoD materiel to address an emerging threat.”

The company’s APKWS guidance kit transforms unguided rockets into precision-guided munitions that gives rotary- and fixed-wing military aircraft a low-cost surgical strike capability. APKWS rockets have the flexibility to strike a variety of stationary and to move targets from planes, helicopters, ground vehicles, boats, and remote weapon stations.