General Dynamics (GD) has selected BAE Systems to provide the guidance and control section for the US Army's Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), a guided upgrade of the Hydra-70 rocket. Raytheon was also competing for the contract to fit the unguided rocket with a low-cost semi-active laser seeker.

GD has received a $53.8 million contract for system development and demonstration of the Block 1, unitary-warhead APKWS, to be fielded in 2005. The precision weapon fills the gap between the Hydra-70 unguided rocket and the Hellfire laser-guided missile. The US Army plans to acquire between 50,000 and 100,000 guided rockets, with a target price of under $10,000.

BAE and Raytheon conducted flight tests of their competing guidance systems late last year, achieving better than 1m (3ft) accuracy at up to 5.5km (3.4 mile) range. The BAE design installs the guidance section between the warhead and rocket motor, with the solid-state laser seeker optics mounted on the leading edges of pop-out foreplanes. The seeker optics are protected before launch by being stowed inside the guidance section.

Source: Flight International