BAE Systems Sees Exponential Growth in APKWS Orders
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
WASHINGTON — Naval Air Systems Command’s recent award of a $59.5 million contract to BAE Systems for the Advanced Precision-Kill Weapons System (APKWS) represents a dramatic increase in orders for the low-cost precision guided-missile, a doubling of the total of five years of previous deliveries.
Dave Harrold, director of business development for Survivability, Targeting, & Sensing Solutions, told reporters Oct. 10 at the Association of the United States Army convention that the company had delivered 10,000 APKWS kits over the last five years, but would be delivering another 10,000 kits over approximately the next 12 months.
Harrold said the orders include replacements for ordnance expended in combat since the APKWS reached initial operational capability in 2002. The company delivered its 10,000th APKWS guidance unit in July.
The APKWS laser-guidance kits transform standard Hydra 2.75-inch (70-millimeter) rockets into precision munitions, useful against soft and lightly armored targets. The precision and small warhead enable the missile to minimize collateral damage. The screw-in guidance kit laser sensors that give the rocket guidance control signals to follow a laser illumination to the target.
The U.S. platforms certified to fire the APKWS include the Navy’s MH-60R/S helicopters, the Marine Corps’ AH-1W/Z Super Cobra/Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters and AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft, the Army’s AH-64 apache helicopter, and the Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon strike aircraft
The contract award, coming on the heels of a June award of $180.5 million, is an option of a 2016 indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contract for more than $600 million.
Harrold said the new orders are enabling the company to further reduce the per-unit cost of APKWS laser-guided rockets. He said the unit coast of an APKWS kit is “under $30,000.”