For the first time, the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) will be integrated onto an unmanned aerial vehicle, BAE Systems has announced. The company, which designed and manufactures the guidance section of the laserguided rocket, was recently awarded a US Navy contract to add the APKWS onto the MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV.
“APKWS’ precision firepower will soon be available on a UAV platform,” said Roy Rumbaugh, APKWS programme manager at BAE Systems. “With BAE Systems’ innovative technologies, the Fire Scout will engage targets on land or at sea with laser-guided accuracy while keeping our warfighters out of harm’s way.”
The system is being integrated onto the Fire Scout in response to an urgent operational need and is being prepared for rapid deployment. BAE Systems will support this rapid APKWS integration by performing system analyses and modelling based on its high fidelity, integrated flight simulator.
“This expansion onto unmanned aircraft is the next exciting step after demonstrating performance on both rotary and fixed-wing manned aircraft,” Rumbaugh said.
Unmanned aircraft can operate in regimes that are considered too hazardous for manned aircraft and dramatically expand the types of missions that can be conducted from surface ships. The APKWS is the US Government’s only programme of record for the semi-active laser-guided 2.75-inch rocket.