APKWS Enters Full Rate production | Defense Update

The U.S. Navy has authorized full-rate production of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), BAE Systems’ affordable and versatile laser-guided rocket system.

Under the contract, the company will make deliveries to support the U.S. Marine Corps, which is already effectively utilizing APKWS in theater.

The guided rocket was shot for the first time in combat in March 2012, from AH-1W and UH-1Y helicopters supporting Marine Corps ground forces during combat operations in Afghanistan, demonstrating its capability to engage and penetrate complex targets.

via APKWS Enters Full Rate production | Defense Update.

Cool. Of course, the idea of a laser guidance kit to be bolted onto an unguided rocket has been around since I was in high school in the mid-1980s.

It remains to be seen if the Army will adopt the APKWS.


11 thoughts on “APKWS Enters Full Rate production | Defense Update”

  1. Wonder if they will start mounting M-261’s on ships with these in the tubes.
    Might make a effective “small boat swarm” defense.

    1. It’s certainly something I’ve pondered. But if you can get a similar range from the Griffin missile, that’s probably a better route to go.

      Heck, I’d like to see a TOW sized/ranged missile with the Javelin soft launch and autonomous guidance.

  2. See… and I always thought the difference between rockets and missiles was guidance. So wouldn’t a guided rocket be a missile?

    1. While I generally subscribe to the same definition, AFAIK, APKWS hasn’t been assigned an “AGM-XXX” number. Hence the awkward naming.

  3. I know I am probably in the minority, and the technical obstacles are considerable, but I would love to see the lasers themselves be used against a small boat swarm. Point the damned thing at some craft, or skiff full of pirates, and *FZZZZZZT!*, a puff of smoke and a few bubbles.

    Do that a few times and it is guaranteed to dampen the enthusiasm of the rest of the swarm….

    1. Thing about atmospheric conditions in high-moisture environments – such as those found near, say, water … doesn’t do good things for the range and focus-ability of your directed energy weapons, even if you had an emitter that was otherwise suitable for combat use. Which we don’t.

    2. URR, the heat capacity of humans is better than steel. If only we could do this. A 30 mm round is faster and cheaper.

      All we really have to do is jam communications, sink them with our existing technology, do let the swimming survivors on-board, and then, most importantly, do not say a thing.

      All the pirates know is their friends got underway and never returned.
      Rinse and repeat for maximum effect.

      History note: in the 1830 small craft pirates were a big problem in the Caribbean. The US Navy and the Marine Corps killed the pirates until the problem went away. Took about 3 years.

  4. Gents,

    Lasers zap things in the movies all the time. Just like hot chicks continually kicking men’s asses in movie fights. DoD assures us they can kick our asses for real, why can’t they make lasers to zap things for real? Is that too much to ask from DARPA? I think not.

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