Jordan and the U.S. Navy have formally signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance for the first international sale of BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket.
“We’re pleased that the Jordanian Armed Forces will be the first international customer of our APKWS rocket. As part of this sale, we’ll deliver an advanced, highly-accurate weapon system to help strengthen the Kingdom’s military,” said David Harrold, director of precision guidance solutions at BAE Systems. “Through the foreign military sale process, the APKWS rocket can provide precision strike capabilities to Jordan and other military allies that would benefit from an affordable, proven, low-risk laser-guided rocket system currently in the U.S. inventory.”
Currently in its third year of full rate production, the APKWS rocket is the only U.S. Department of Defense fully qualified, guided 2.75-inch rocket that uses semi-active laser guidance technology to strike soft and lightly armored targets in confined areas.
At one-third the cost and weight of other laser-guided weapons, the BAE Systems-designed APKWS technology fills the gap between unguided small diameter rockets and larger diameter anti-armor munitions. The company produces the mid-body guidance kit, which changes a standard unguided rocket into a precision laser-guided missile. This approach allows militaries to cost effectively leverage their legacy munitions investments by using existing equipment and infrastructure.
More than 400 of these rockets have been fired in testing and in combat, and have exceeded performance requirements in training and testing exercises. The APKWS rocket’s success in combat — combined with its low weight and low cost — highlights its potential as the close air support weapon system of choice against soft and lightly armored targets for rotary-wing, fixed-wing, and unmanned platforms throughout the world.
"This initial APKWS sale will equip the Jordanian Armed Forces with the same combat-proven weapon system that U.S. Navy and Marine Corps' aircrew currently employ," said Capt. Al Mousseau, Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program manager (PMA-242) at Naval Air Systems Command. "As demonstrated with this recent sale, we remain ready to support other international opportunities."
Jordan will deploy the APKWS rocket on its CASA-235 light gunship aircraft. The versatile weapon system has been successfully demonstrated on more than a dozen platforms including the AH-64 Apache, the F-16, the Bell 407, and the AH-1W.