Finally-APKWS to be fielded


The Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, basically a laser guided 2.75” rocket, is finally being fielded in combat. It’s had a long, hard development.

It’s small warhead means less collateral damage (though it may sometimes also mean more rounds are needed for terminal effects). It also means a chopper can carry more rounds. And the APKWS is a LOT cheaper than the Hellfire.

6 thoughts on “Finally-APKWS to be fielded”

  1. 2.75 inch rockets were traditionally weapons for targets in the open mostly because of the lack of guidance but also because the warhead is designed to produce shrapnel. As far as collateral damage is concerned if my target in a congested area is a group of individuals setting up a mortar, the current unguided fleshette round would take care of that with little to no damage to surrounding buildings, cars etc. and is much cheaper than a guided rocket.

    I am interested to see what the warhead on the guided rocket would do against different target sets. That is the real question. I was always kind of “Meh” about this system when they initially announced that it was going to completely replace the unguided versions a few years back. The Army then backed off of that.

    A lot of the issues with collateral damage and current weapons on board modern attack helicopters has to do with the technique of employment rather than the weapons themselves…especially when it comes to 30mm cannon and AH-64 employment.

    So this is cool, but the the jury is still out as far as I’m concerned.

    1. You’ll notice they’re firing it on a loft profile. I’ve heard an effective range just shy of a Hellfire, say about 7km. Which, that’s a bit more than a 2.75″/70mm Hydra.

  2. 7.5 KM is the max range for rockets. We had crews hit a target with unguided 2.75 rockets at 7 KM not consistantly by any means but it can be done.

    I’m not saying it is useless, I would like to see what the warhead will do. There’s not much bang there…also at 7.5 you get more of something called spot jitter and beam divergance and it’s not as accurate as at say 4KM. Call me a skeptic.

  3. Didn’t Hughes Aircraft have a program for the 2.75″ rockets using a modification of the proximity fuse and radio beams during Vietnam? Where a high gain directional antenna transmitted a signal toward a target and the rocket followed the reflections? I remember reading about it back in the 80’s I think in Combat and Survival Encyclopedia.

    1. There are proximity fuses available, the only one still in use is used on the MPSM rocket which despences submunitions at approx 1 KM from the computed target. That rocket isn’t used very much currently due to the dud rate.

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