US Army’s guided rocket saga takes another twist

The US Army’s frustrated, decade-long ambition to buy a guided rocket for its scout helicopters has taken another twist.

Five years ago, the army started developing the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), adapting the standard — and wildly inaccurate — 2.75-in Hydra rocket with a semi-active laser. After the General Dynamics/BAE Systems team scored two test failures in early 2005, the army terminated the contract. The program was re-opened to competitive bids, allowing Lockheed and Raytheon to submit proposals against a reorganized BAE/General Dynamics team. But the army stuck with its original contractor, awarding the APKWS II contract to BAE.

But that wasn’t nearly the end of the story. A year later, Congress took the money for APKWS II away from the army and gave it to the US Marine Corps, which is integrating the weapon the Bell UH-1Y and AH-1Z. The army seemed to lose interest. Meanwhile, Lockheed continued developing their version of the guided rocket, calling its version the direct attack guided rocket (DAGR). Raytheon also stayed in the mix, receiving funding from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). And foreign companies, such as Thales, have also developed their own version of a lightweight guided munition.

Now, after all this time, the US army is again soliciting options for a “lightweight precision guided munition”, which could be capable of targeting lightly armored vehicles and people by a OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The army will no doubt invite the same bidders who competed for APKWS II, and Lockheed has already confirmed plans to respond to the army’s solicitation.

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5 Responses to US Army’s guided rocket saga takes another twist

  1. Royce 1 September, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    This sounds like it’s going to end up as one of those low-visibility programs that suck up some dollars each fiscal year, can’t overcome the technical obstacles and never make it into service, but never end up actually dead.

  2. elgatoso 1 September, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    I read in another blog that DAGR is working.Somebody can confirm or denied ?

  3. Neptune 1 September, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    It’s great that the Army is finally finishing the 2.75″ hydra rocket program. By certifying either or both of l/m and raytheon rockets with the hellfire controls, the Kiowa will be a terror to anyone not wanting 2lbs of exploding B-4 compound next to them in their car, truck or sniper hide. With Kiowa certified on hellfire and hydras, these laser guided rockets are going to change the world for folks who like to “plink” at our troops.All the helos and maybe even a warthog or so hauling these things around for CAS, will give pause! Heck even a gaggle of them riding around in a hummer would be worrisome to your non-neighborly sniper or ied jerk. Who ever is cathin’ that 2 lbs of B-4 is gonna’ have a bad hair day!! God Bless Texas and the USA. Go Army!

  4. Devin Hahn 9 June, 2010 at 4:35 am #

    10lbs….

  5. Myrta Stegeman 16 August, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

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