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20 Dec 2007 | Ref. 400/2007

FORT WALTON BEACH, Florida — Two BAE Systems-built Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guided rockets were successfully test-fired from a U.S. Army Kiowa Warrior helicopter on Dec. 13. These tests confirm that the APKWS rocket is compatible with the Kiowa Warrior’s carriage and launch systems and demonstrate that the weapon can be fired from the helicopter without requiring platform integration or modifications.

The tests also proved again the weapon’s ability to acquire, track, and hit a laser-designated target, with both rockets striking the target well within accuracy requirements established by the Army and Marine Corps.

Following launch, the first APKWS rocket was guided by a ground-based laser designator to a ground target. The second launch was guided by a laser designator in a second helicopter flying near the launch platform. This “buddy lase” scenario is typical of Army operations.

"The successful firing of APKWS shows that the system can be employed without any modifications to the aircraft or launchers and with minimal crew training,” said Lt. Col. Paul Bontrager, commander of the 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. “Integration of APKWS will give our aircrews the ability to precisely employ 2.75-inch rockets from an extended range against the enemy with reduced error or collateral damage, providing aircrews with increased precision, lethality, range, and protection in the global war on terrorism."

APKWS is a low-cost precision munition system that modifies a standard 2.75-inch unguided rocket into a highly precise, laser-guided weapon capable of engaging unarmored and lightly armored targets. Sensors guide the warhead to its target with pinpoint accuracy, ensuring that the intended target is destroyed while greatly lessening the risk of collateral damage. With APKWS, military aircrews can engage targets that often were unreachable with conventional 2.75-inch rockets.

These tests mark the second time in three months that APKWS rockets have been fired from an aircraft. Similar tests, conducted in September, involved a U.S. Marine Corps Cobra helicopter.

"In the past three months, BAE Systems has demonstrated, in cooperation with our customers, that APKWS can be launched from the Army Kiowa and Marine Corps Cobra,” said Frank Wilson, vice president and general manager of precision targeting for BAE Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire. “These platforms are true workhorses in the current attack helicopter fleet, and their pilots need a weapon that will eliminate the target without harming surrounding non-combatants or taking out whole buildings. APKWS is that weapon, and these tests demonstrate its maturity, accuracy, and reliability.”

BAE Systems has been the prime contractor for APKWS since April 2006. APKWS is a joint-interest program with Army and Navy/Marine Corps participation.

About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defense and aerospace company, delivering a full range of products and services for air, land, and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions, and customer support services. BAE Systems, with 96,000 employees worldwide, had 2006 sales that exceeded $27 billion on a pro forma basis, assuming BAE Systems had owned Armor Holdings, Inc. for the whole of 2006.

For further information, please contact:
Karen Spiller, BAE Systems
Tel: +1 603 885 2818 Mobile: +1 603 566 2090

Shannon Smith, BAE Systems
Tel: +1 703 907 8257 Mobile: +1 703 967 3854

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