The APKWS is now capable of shooting down drones

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BAE Systems, Inc. has successfully tested APKWS® laser-guided rockets in precision strike tests against Class 2 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) at Yuma Proving Grounds. The 2.75” test rockets combined standard M151 warheads and Mk66 motors with APKWS precision guidance kits and a newly developed proximity fuze – enabling them to engage and destroy airborne drones at a fraction of the cost of traditional counter-UAS (C-UAS) strike capabilities.

“Unmanned Aerial Vehicles of all sizes are a growing threat increasingly deployed by adversaries around the globe,” said Greg Procopio, director of Precision Guidance and Sensing Systems at BAE Systems. “The flexibility and affordability of APKWS rockets make them a good choice for taking out small, tactical military drones. Our successful test strikes demonstrate the creativity of our engineers and an innovative and economical use of existing DoD materiel to address an emerging threat.”

BAE Systems conducted test fires and engineering tests to develop a capable system for U.S. armed forces and allies. The key to APKWS rockets’ counter-UAS capability is the innovative proximity fuze jointly developed by L3Harris Technologies and Technology Service Corporation. The fuze combines target proximity detection and point detonation capabilities, and is a drop-in replacement for existing M423 fuzes – allowing APKWS rockets to destroy UASs without the need for a direct hit.

Unlike expensive C-UAS missiles, APKWS rockets do not need to lock on the target before launch, instead relying on semi-active laser guidance optics that activate on launch, saving warfighters precious seconds when it counts.

 
Very Impressive.
But let's remind that laser illuminators generally don't come in swarm and line of sight is needed!
 
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Very Impressive.
But let's remind that laser illuminator generally doesn't come in swarm and line of sight is needed!
If they can time-share with the illuminator, and automate it, they could guide quite a few at once I'd think. (I guess frequency, and not confusing multiple defensive missiles, might be an issue though.)
 
Very Impressive.
But let's remind that laser illuminator generally doesn't come in swarm and line of sight is needed!
If they can time-share with the illuminator, and automate it, they could guide quite a few at once I'd think. (I guess frequency, and not confusing multiple defensive missiles, might be an issue though.
I assume it use same approach as Hellfire:
“ Hellfire can be launched in four firing modes: one missile (single), two or more missiles on the same code (rapid), two or more missiles launched on different codes using multiple laser designators (ripple), or multiple codes and designators used in combination of rapid and ripple fire. The PRF code is cockpit selectable.
PRF Codes
Laser coding permits the simultaneous use of multiple laser designators and laser guided weapons/seekers. Laser designators and seekers use a PRF coding system to ensure that a specific seeker and designator combination work in harmony. By setting the same code in both the designator and the seeker, the seeker tracks only the target that is designated with that code.
Code Description
The system uses either a three digit or four digit numeral system, depending on the type of laser equipment. Three digit settings range from 111 to 788, while four digit settings range from 1,111 to 1,788. All three and four digit designator/seekers are compatible. Lower numbered PRF codes provide higher quality designation due to faster pulse repetition.”

So it is just matter of implementation.
Source:
 
28 Mar 2023
The Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) has successfully tested BAE Systems’ APKWS® laser-guidance kits in a counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) mission. The testing against Class-2 UAS paves the way for fielding of the precision-guided rockets to partner nations around the globe.

APKWS transforms unguided rockets into smart munitions for precision strikes on soft and lightly armored targets. A newly developed proximity fuze for the standard M151 warhead allows the laser-guidance kits to target Class 2 and Class 3 drones, which typically weigh less than 55 pounds. The fuze retains the legacy point denotation capability for maximum flexibility of the weapon in the field. APKWS now enables rockets to engage and destroy drones at a fraction of the cost of existing C-UAS systems with unprecedented precision.

During the Department of Defense-led exercise at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, the 70 mm APKWS-guided rockets demonstrated 100 percent effectiveness when fired against 25 to 50 pound drones traveling at more than 100 miles an hour. The APKWS C-UAS solution is platform agnostic, permitting multiple options to accelerate fielding.
 
It would also be very unhealthy to helicopters.
 
That helicopter is certainly carrying a lot of rockets. Any info about what type of helicopter it is? I have not seen anything like it before.
 
Next question: if this new system is as good as BAE claims, then why is it not being fielded in Saudi Arabia and Ukraine by the thousands?
It looks like a low-cost way to intercept low-altitude drones over the battlefield.
Is it too early in the development cycle?
 
Next question: if this new system is as good as BAE claims, then why is it not being fielded in Saudi Arabia and Ukraine by the thousands?
It looks like a low-cost way to intercept low-altitude drones over the battlefield.
Is it too early in the development cycle?

Ukraine has received APKWS. We don't know what they are doing with it, but they're killing an awful lot of Shahed drones somehow...
 
Thanks TomS and sferrin. Was it part of the AH-56 program or separate once the AH-56 got cancelled?
 
Thanks TomS and sferrin. Was it part of the AH-56 program or separate once the AH-56 got cancelled?
In between AH-56 and the AAH program.

"Lockheed's design soon ran into development problems and cost and timelines began to grow. Sensing an opportunity, Sikorsky offered an armed SH-3 Sea King (Sikorsky S-61) version. After further AAFSS problems, the company developed an intermediate, high-speed attack aircraft named the Sikorsky S-67 Blackhawk in 1970.[1][3][5] Design work on the S-67 began in November 1969 with manufacturing following in February 1970. The Blackhawk first flew on 20 August 1970.[6]"

"The S-67 Blackhawk, along with the Bell 309 KingCobra, was put through a series of flight test evaluations in 1972 by the U.S. Army.[10] Neither aircraft was selected to replace the AH-56 Cheyenne. Instead, the Army chose to create the new Advanced Attack Helicopter program, which would lead to the AH-64 Apache several years later."
 
Just came into my mind, seeing how effective APKWS could be against group 1 and 2 UAS, maybe it's not that implausible that the army might deicde that a SAL seeker for vehicle mounted MSHORAD inc.3 could work. Then again one might ask why we need a SAL MSHORAD inc.3 when we already have APKWS, we'll see.
 
Just came into my mind, seeing how effective APKWS could be against group 1 and 2 UAS, maybe it's not that implausible that the army might deicde that a SAL seeker for vehicle mounted MSHORAD inc.3 could work. Then again one might ask why we need a SAL MSHORAD inc.3 when we already have APKWS, we'll see.
I would expect the proximity fuzed APKWS to be one of the interim MSHORAD solutions.
 
Now that the 2.75" APKWS has proved itself in combat in Ukraine I wonder if BAe will develop an APKWS seeker assembly for the 5" Zuni rocket?
 
Last time I heard anything about the Zuni's I thought that they were out of production, replaced by the Hydra rocket.
 
Last time I heard anything about the Zuni's I thought that they were out of production, replaced by the Hydra rocket.
That's what I thought as well, though apparently there are still a decent number in inventory as the USMC likes using them for their airborne FACs to mark targets with.
 
it is amazing that they still use them for target marking.

Well the Zuni-rocket is a well established and well understood design that's been mass-produced for decades (No doubt in the hundreds of thousands of rounds in not low millions).

Mighty Mouse-armed 1950s interceptors are screaming in frustration and jealousy right now! :p

LOL:D! Now that I think about it I find it surprising that the Mighty Mouse rockets weren't equipped with proximity-fuses.
 
So the Zuni's are still in use by the USMC, it is amazing that they still use them for target marking.
Surprised the heck out of me when I read it, that's for sure!

Now that I think about it I find it surprising that the Mighty Mouse rockets weren't equipped with proximity-fuses.
Possibly too expensive, alternatively too hard to safe without a 9000g launch shearing physical pins.
 
Possibly too expensive, alternatively too hard to safe without a 9000g launch shearing physical pins.

I find that highly doubtful and implausible given that the Allies had succeeded in designing and building proximity-fuses that used sub-miniature valves for AAA shells, if they can survive than then they can survive the G-loads from 2.75" rocket-launch.
 
Now that I think about it I find it surprising that the Mighty Mouse rockets weren't equipped with proximity-fuses.
As far as I know, the main justification was, that radar proximity fuses may be vulnerable to jamming. Amrerican military researched "battle of the beam" well, and was quite worried, that USSR may develope some kind of jammer (quite possibly by obtaining the specs of American proximity fuses - Soviet spies were highly efficient in late 1940s), and made the proximity fuses useless. In the situation of all-out nuclear warfare, there would be little to no time to return and disarm the interceptors, so if their main weapon suddenly failed... well, it would be enough time to raise the white flag over White House.

Also, there were doubts that 2.7 kg warhead of Mighty Mouse would be efficient in anything but direct impact situation. For compairson, the total weight of Mighty Mouse warhead was smaller than 5-inch AA shell bursting charge (!). And the 1940s proximity fuses weren't exactly too accurate - their potential distance error was larger than the Mighty Mouse warhead burst radius. So the proximity fuse would, essentially, made those rockets less efficient, because some rockets that could made hit would instead explode harmlessly.

That's two main reason behing not equipping the Mighty Mouse with proximity fuse. First - that USAF officers were worried about it getting jammed at exactly the wrong time. Second - it would not help much, due to tiny warhead on the rocket.
 

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