US will deliver to Ukraine APKWS 70mm guided rockets that can be launched from air or land paltforms


According to information published by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) on May 6, 2022, the United States will deliver to Ukraine Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) which is a 70mm laser-guided rocket that can be launched from an air platform as a helicopter or drones as well as from a land platform. 
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A U.S. Army Soldier assigned to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade load an Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) training round for a live-fire exercise, Sept. 23, 2021, Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. (Picture source U.S. DoD)


On April 1, 2022, the United States DoD (Department of Defense) announced a $300 million budget in security assistance under USAI (Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative), and to date, the DOD has already awarded eight contracts totaling $136.8 million including unmanned aerial systems, Puma, advanced precision kill weapon system, communication devices, combat medical equipment and supplies, meals ready to eat, even binoculars.

The Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) converts a Hydra 70 unguided rocket into precision-guided munitions using a laser guidance kit. The guided rocket can be launched from land or air platforms. It can be used to destroy armored vehicles. Today, there are 17 launch platforms qualified with the APKWS guidance section including tactical and combat helicopters as well as multirole and fighter aircraft.

The Hydra 70 rocket is a 70 mm diameter fin-stabilized unguided rocket used primarily in the air-to-ground role. The rocket is used to perform a variety of missions. The war reserve unitary and cargo warheads are used for anti-materiel, anti-personnel, and suppression missions. The Hydra 70 family of folding-fin aerial rockets also includes smoke screening, illumination, and training warheads.

The 70mm rocket of the APKWS has a semi-active laser guidance system with an effective firing range from 1.1 to 12 km. The rocket has a range of up to 5 km fired from rotary-wing platforms and 12 km from fixed-wing platforms.

The ground launcher station of the APKWS can be used to provide support for ground troops to engage soft and lightly armored targets from a variety of platforms. It can easily integrate into light tactical vehicles or remotely operated weapon stations.

The combat-proven APKWS rocket bridges the gap between unguided rockets for area suppression and larger more expensive anti-armor munitions. The APKWS rocket provides precision engagement of soft or lightly armored targets allowing fighting forces to accurately engage targets, especially in urban terrain with low collateral damage.

The APKWS mid-body design guidance and control section is compatible with existing and new inventories of 70 mm rocket motors, warheads, and launchers, transforming them into a precise, lethal, reliable laser-guided rocket at a low price. It requires no modification to the rocket, firing platform, or fire control/launcher system and minimal training for the crew.


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