In 2020, BAE Systems successfully completed test shots of its APKWS® laser-guided rockets from a tactical configuration ground-based weapon system for the first time. The proof-of-concept testing demonstrated the flexibility of APKWS rockets to deliver standoff precision strike capabilities for ground forces, providing soldiers with a unique solution for engaging targets with greater range than small arms fire and without the need for air support.
BAE Systems tested the APKWS rockets at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground, in collaboration with the U.S. Navy and Arnold Defense, a premier manufacturer of rocket launchers. The team used Arnold’s FLETCHER 2.75-inch/70mm Weapon System concept – a purpose-built laser-guided rocket launcher for ground vehicles – to fire several successful shots. The ground-launch capability builds on hundreds of successful shots in combat from rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft.
Ground-launched APKWS rockets could provide mounted and dismounted units with a unique way to engage soft and lightly armored targets from a variety of platforms. The low size, weight, and power requirements of ground-launched APKWS rockets make them ideal for tactical lightweight vehicles, remote weapon stations, non-standard tactical vehicles, and stationary platforms, providing soldiers with precision munitions that improve their safety and mission effectiveness.
APKWS laser-guided rockets are the only U.S. government program of record for 2.75-inch (70-milimeter) laser-guided rockets. The APKWS rocket includes advanced DASALS seeker optics located on all four guidance wings. Once fired, the wings deploy, and the optics lock in, guiding the rocket to the target
In combat, our APKWS rocket has achieved over a 93 percent hit rate when fired from rotary- and fixed-wing platforms. All four U.S. armed forces use APKWS rockets. The U.S. Army has achieved numerous confirmed successful engagements in support of current combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Air Force has fired hundreds of fixed-wing units in theater to date, and the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy have fired thousands of combined fixed- and rotary-wing shots in total, including hundreds in combat scenarios.
The APKWS is available to U.S. allies via Foreign Military Sales.
*As an Amazon Associate, Military Trader / Military Vehicles earns from qualifying purchases.