U.S. Department of Defense issued a permit for the use of rockets equipped with laser guidance system APKWS II, with aircraft.
As reported by Jane’s, the permit was issued October 15, 2013 on the basis of tests carried out by the control PMA-242 fighter planes based on the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 fighter Fighting Falcon.
APKWS system developed by British company BAE Systems. Initially, it was designed to implement helicopter types UH-1 Huey, OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and AH-64 Apache.
The system is a laser target mounted on a helicopter, also block rudders, engines built between ordinary unguided missile and its main body. At the end of the warhead attached sensor unit.
Tests APKWS conducted in 2009-2012 in the interests of the Army, Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. Later, BAE Systems has developed a system APKWS II, modified for integration with aircraft.
It has changed the method of guidance, taking into account the enormous height and the speed at which the aircraft capable of striking ground targets from the air. As expected, the supply of the troops APKWS II will begin with 2015.
APKWS advantage and its derivative is the ability to obtain high-precision jet ammunition at the lowest cash costs. The combination of rockets and systems in general difficulties APKWS costs less than one special missile «air-surface».
To solve some problems can be quite a cheap APKWS. Another advantage of the system is that the plane can carry more ammunition. Namely, in a launch container for assault aircraft placed seven missiles equipped with system APKWS.
By its own weight, together with the container they are comparable with the one guided aerial bombs caliber 500 pounds.