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The Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) is a family of guided and unguided 70-millimeter (2.75-inch) rockets designed to attack soft and lightly armored targets at ranges of up to six kilometers (3.7 miles).
The program began in 1999 as an advanced technology demonstration (ATD) focused on adding a guidance system to the Army's Hydra-70 2.75-inch rocket, which is in widespread use on a variety of rotorcraft. In 2002 the Army recognized that the Hydra-70 needed various other improvements that would benefit both the guided and unguided versions, and these upgrades were incorporated into the APKWS effort.
The APKWS family of rockets includes up to 10 configurations for various tactical and training purposes. The guided variant includes a semi-active laser guidance section installed between the M151 High Explosive Point Detonating warhead and the Mk 66 MOD 4 motor (which is common to all variants).
The unguided rockets have a range of one to six kilometers (.62 to 3.7 miles), while the guided rocket offers precision engagements at 1.5 to five kilometers (.93 to 3.1 miles). The unguided rockets can provide area suppression or disperse flares, while the laser-seeking guided rocket is designed for soft to lightly armored point targets, including moving vehicles.
Short of tanks, almost anything typically found on a battlefield could be a target for APKWS, according to Frank Pope, senior director of rocket and missile systems for GDATP. While the unguided Hydra-70 previously has been used mostly for area suppression, the new guided variant will allow for new missions and targets, Pope told The DAILY. "It opens up other possibilities for MOUT [Military Operations in Urban Terrain] operations, because of the low collateral damage and high precision that's offered by the guided round," he said.
The Army's Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) is intended to fill the gap between the current unguided 2.75" Hydra-70 Rocket System and the HELLFIRE anti-tank missile. It is anticipated that APKWS will be comprised of a laser sensor and guidance package coupled with the Hydra-70 rocket. It is designed to use the current MK66 rocket motor, M151 10 pound high explosive fragmentation warhead, M423 point detonating fuse, and the M260 or M261 rocket launcher. The MK66 rocket motor and associated component parts (warhead, fuze, etc.) are those that are currently in the inventory, however, the APKWS is designed to be compatible with any 2.75 inch rocket system in the inventory at time of acquisition. The rocket warhead and fuze are integrated with a laser sensor and a highly accurate guidance assembly resulting in a precision guided weapon. The APKWS is programmed with the aircraft's compatible laser code and loaded into the aircraft rocket launcher(s). The APKWS is designed and intended to enhance the existing rocket system and to complement the Hellfire missile system; providing a significantly lower cost per kill against soft to lightly armored point targets. Precision guidance and warhead size of the APKWS will significantly reduce collateral damage. These features will make APKWS the weapon of choice during operations in urban terrain or for aerial fire support missions in close proximity to friendly forces. The APKWS will be employed from attack, armed reconnaissance, or other designated helicopters.
The LCPK Advanced Technology Demonstration purpose and goal is to develop, flight demonstrate, and integrate onto the AH-64D Longbow APACHE a low cost, accurate 2.75 inch guided rocket that provides a standoff range surgical strike capability against specified soft point targets, addressing the APKWS needs. The technologies demonstrated for the LCPK 2.75 inch guided rocket will include small low cost solid state semi-active laser (SAL) seekers to acquire reflected laser energy, canard or thruster controllers to provide aerodynamic control authority, small low cost off the shelf inertial devices to provide inertial information for rocket control, and an innovative de-roll coupling device to provide some roll isolation from the highly rolling free rocket. The guidance package will be a direct screw-on to the current inventory HYDRA-70 rocket motor, warhead, and fuze.
FredT, are you being sarcastic or not? I fail to see how cheaper methods of killing is a GOOD thing. Cheaper methods of saving lives would perhaps be something more worthwhile, and worth the investment that it takes to develop a killing tool like this one.