New Customer: Jordan will be the first international customer of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System. (BAE Systems)
AMMAN, JORDAN — The Kingdom of Jordan will become the first international customer of BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets.
Jordan signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance for the system here at the Special Operations Forces Exhibition and Conference (SOFEX). In its third year of full-rate production, the APKWS rocket is the only guided 2.75-inch rocket fully qualified by the US Department of Defense that uses semi-active laser guidance technology to strike soft and lightly armored targets in confined areas.
“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, BAE’s director of precision guidance solutions.
The system, which is a mid-body guidance kit, changes a standard unguided rocket into a precision laser-guided missile that allows militaries to cost-effectively leverage their legacy munitions, according to BAE Systems.
Jordan now joins the US Navy in the procurement of the system, which was developed by the US subsidiary of BAE.
According to US Capt. Al Mousseau, Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program manager at Naval Air Systems Command, the APKWS sale will equip the Jordanian Armed Forces with the same combat-proven weapon system that US Navy and Marine Corps’ aircrew employ.
“As demonstrated with this recent sale, we remain ready to support other international opportunities,” Mousseau said.
“The system design and versatility allow it to be placed on many platforms, and the retractable winglets on the rocket also make it more effective and low risk,” said Joseph Tiano, precision guidance solutions program manager at BAE Systems. “The system provides the option to use the weapon system on [multiple] platforms, including the AH-64 Apache and the F-16, among others,” he said.
At one-third the cost and weight of other laser-guided weapons, the APKWS fills the gap between unguided small-diameter rockets and larger-diameter anti-armor munitions, Tiano said.
According to BAE, more than 400 of the rockets have been fired in testing and in combat.
The Kingdom will deploy the APKWS rocket on its CASA-235 light gunship aircraft, which was delivered by ATK at SOFEX. The gunship was the first delivery of the modified version developed in conjunction with the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB). ATK was awarded a contract by KADDB to modify two of the country’s CASA-235 transport aircraft.
ATK and KADDB began a US-based flight and gun test program in the fall of 2013. The program validated the performance of the gunship and performed system checkouts, according to a statement from ATK. Testing included a full suite of aircraft flying qualities, and sensor and weapons testing. Accuracy validation was completed in March.
The system integration and aircraft modifications conducted by ATK and KADDB converted the CASA-235 cargo plane into a multimission gunship. Modifications included the installation of an electro-optical targeting system, a laser designator, aircraft self-protection equipment, a synthetic aperture radar and armaments including Hellfire laser-guided missiles, 2.75-inch rockets, and a side-mounted M230 link-fed 30mm chain gun.
Targeting and fire control are integrated with and controlled by an ATK mission system, which provides day and night reconnaissance and the ability to acquire, monitor and track targets of interest. ■