The US military has awarded BAE Systems a $175 million contract for more than 7,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) Laser-Guided Rockets.

This latest award was made under the US Navy’s 2016 $600 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, which is understood to be the contracting vehicle to supply APKWS to the US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Army and US Air Force, as well as an increasing number of allied nations. The company expects additional orders to bring the total number of units for this production lot to 17,500.
“Global demand for our precision strike capabilities is being driven by a need for munitions that can strike soft targets with accuracy surrounded by friendly forces, civilians, and valuable assets,” said Marc Casseres, Director of Precision Guidance and Sensing Solutions at BAE Systems.
“With APKWS, our customers get a high-quality, reliable, easy-to-use product that is designed to hit intended targets with extreme accuracy.”
APKWS Apache helicopter (Artist's Concept)
BAE Systems continues to ramp up production capacity as it builds toward an annual production level of more than 20,000 units. The company say it is delivering APKWS rockets ‘to meet surging customer demand while maintaining an unwavering commitment to quality’.
According to the company:

“The innovative APKWS technology transforms standard 2.75-inch (70-millemetre) rockets into precision munitions by simply installing the guidance kit between the warhead and engine of an unguided rocket. The APKWS rocket’s extreme accuracy is ideal for minimising collateral damage to assets in close proximity to targets, thereby reducing risk for troops in the field while providing close air support.

APKWS rockets are the only guided 2.75-inch rockets qualified both by the US Department of Defense, and for use on multiple military rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. APKWS rockets are used by the US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Army, and US Air Force and are available to international customers via the US Foreign Military Sales process.”
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[…] post US military orders thousands of APKWS Laser-Guided Rockets from BAE Systems appeared first on UK Defence […]


Why the UK hasn’t bought these I simply do not know. It is going to revolutionise air to ground caperbiliites .

Sceptical Richard

Farouk, well Wildcat will soon have Martlet which is in many ways similar, although I suspect considerably more expensive. But these rockets would go down a treat in our new Apaches, particularly if I understand correctly, the current unguided rockets can be upgraded with the guidance kit.


I remember seeing a sales vid on these a while ago, you effectively just unscrew the warhead from the existing apache missile and add the guided part between the two sections. I remember thinking this was an insanely good idea, but thought the price must have been excessive or we would already have them.


The west are crying out for a missile that can take out an unarmored target accurately but costs in the thousands and not the hundreds of thousands. These are still 25k a piece, but the price is getting there. I suspect the main reason we haven’t already got these is firstly because microchip prices were too expensive in the 80’s where most current weapons were originally designed and secondly because back then all the focus was on taking out armoured vehicles and so no R&D went into lighter weps, finally because cheap cluster munitions were still considered a good thing… Read more »


Why would the RAF use Predator+LMM against ISIS snipers instead of using A330 AAR and Typhoon+Brimstone/Paveway?
They are in full competition with the Army and RN and they want to use the “Make sure it’s us who gets the most budget” method.

Oscar Zulu

Already tested and integrated on Australian Army ARH Tiger attack helicopters in 2014

Very useful bit of kit


Imagine the savings if typhoons and tornados launching paveways and brimstones were hawk derivatives using these for the last 15 years in Afghanistan. Not every mission of course, but a good 50%. Also, these will be ideal for the US winner of the light attack contract

John Clark

Excellent idea, I would also integrate this low cost system on the Typhoon (if possible), ideal low cost system for taking out a terrorist technical or mortar team etc.

Let’s stop using very expensive high end Brimstone’s on a guy in sandals with a $50 ex Soviet mortar!

David E Flandry

There was one report where an expensive RAF missile took out a Toyota truck with a 20 mm gun in the rear. Not a good exchange ratio.

Daniele Mandelli

Can the Rockets carried by our Apache be modified to use this equipment?

Our Jags and Harriers used to carry CVR Pods I recall.

Sceptical Richard

Daniele, well the article says they are mod kits for standard high velocity 2.75 inch rockets as already carried by all Apaches. So my guess is yes. Our Apaches used the unguided version successfully in Afghan and I suspect if you had a guided version, you would use these whenever you could instead of a Hellfire or Brimstone… Obviously they don’t have the range of a missile so you’d have to get closer, but if the target is not firing back at you or doing so just with guns, these would be just the ticket.

Daniele Mandelli

Cheers. Hope we may buy some then.

Pete G

The UK does/did not use 70mm American rockets on any of its aircraft, both fixed and rotary wing. The rockets (CRV7) are/were supplied by a Canadian company, Magellan Aerospace. C15 version for fixed wing and C17 for rotary.

Daniele Mandelli

Thank you farouk.

Daniele Mandelli

Having read the link agree with Farouk’s first comment on this thread. Cannot see why the UK has not bought any. Cost saving over expensive guided munitions is obvious.

Sceptical Richard

It’s a no-brainer!


So how does Brimstone compare in performance and price?


no idea on performance but approx £100k vs $25k, so around a 5th of the price. Range is probably more limited but probably doesn’t matter in cases where there is limited air threat.


They are a completely different class of weapon.

A small 2.7 inch rocket vs a larger guided missile.


Agree no brainer for the MOD accountants. Guided rockets from an apache? Save the Typhoon and brimstone for higher profile targets. Double nectar points as well.


Brimstone has a greater range and I think an anti-armour capability also -but as mentioned before it’s a pricey bit of kit to take out a technical with a 50 cal on the back I think of our airframes, only the Apache is configured for the std rocket launcher the brimstone launch mechanism is a hard airframe mounting rather than a pod I don’t know what the rocket pods on the Harrier were – may have been a slightly lighter calibre but noteless, we should be sharing munitions spec standards with our allies and not going down expensive R&D paths… Read more »