Feb. 7 (UPI) — BAE Systems was awarded a $225 million contract for an advanced precision kill weapon system for the U.S. Defense Department and foreign customers.
The contract is for 9,999 additional production units of the laser-guided rocket upgrade kits, known as APKWS II, the Defense Department announced on Wednesday.
The additional APKWS II weapons will upgrade current 2.75-inch rockets to a semi-active laser guided precision weapon in support of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the governments of Nigeria and the Netherlands.
Work, which is expected to be completed in September 2020, will be performed in Hudson, N.J., and Austin, Texas.
Fiscal 2019 procurement of ammunition funds from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps and Air Force, as well as foreign military sales funds, have been obligated to BAE for the full amount of the contract.
The system is in the sixth year of full-rate production, and more than 10,000 units have been delivered to the U.S. military branches as well as foreign customers.
The rocket is used with 13 launch platforms, including nine helicopter models — Apache, Super Cobra Viper, Venom, Knight Hawk/Seakhawk, Black Hawk, Bell , Kiowa Warrior, Little Bird — as well as four jets — Fighting Falcon, Thunderbolt, Harrier and Bronco.
The rocket is the Defense Department’s only program for 2.75-inch laser-guided rockets, according to BAE Systems. The APKWS rocket hits the target with pinpoint accuracy and minimal collateral damage, which is “critical for air-to-ground missions when you only have one shot,” the company said in on its website.