BAE Systems has retrofitted the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket with a proximity fuze, enabling it to blast an unmanned aerial system (UAS) without contact.
The counter-drone system comprises a 2.75-inch (70 millimeters) rocket, attached with standard M151 warheads and Mk66 motors, an APKWS precision guidance kit, and the newly developed proximity fuze.
The manufacturer states that the system’s key component is the fuze, jointly developed by L3Harris Technologies and Technology Service Corporation, which “combines target proximity detection and point detonation capabilities.” This helps the rocket to detonate in the target’s proximity.
The rocket has a range of 1.5 to 5 kilometers (0.93-3 miles) when fired from rotary-wing aircraft while fixed-wing launches can hit targets at a distance of 2 to 12 kilometers (1.2-7.4 miles). The developer claims that the munition has a hit rate of over 93 percent, making it the “most accurate precision-guided weapon in its class.”
Laser Guidance Kit
Moreover, BAE adds that the APKWS rocket’s laser guidance kit gets activated on launch, unlike other “expensive” counter-UAS missiles that need to lock on the target before launch, and therefore saves “warfighters precious seconds when it counts.”
Greg Procopio, director of Precision Guidance and Sensing Systems at BAE Systems, states that “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 an innovative and economical use of existing DoD material to address an emerging threat.”