The Navy and BAE Systems are entering a two-year Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program to integrate and demonstrate the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II (APKWS II) on the U.S. Marine Corps’ AV-8B and U.S. Air Force’s A-10 aircraft platforms. The need for such light, precision guided weapon evolved from operational requirements in theater, where precision laser-guided munitions with low collateral damage could offer operational capability currently not available to legacy fixed-wing aircraft. APKWS II currently is on track to reach Initial Operating Capability in 2011 to deliver capability to the AH-1W and UH-1Y platforms with Fleet Marine Forces currently supporting operations in Afghanistan.
“This is an important capability for the Marine Corps and Air Force crews supporting the troops in harm’s way,” said Capt. Brian Corey, program manager for Direct and Time-Sensitive Strike Weapons. “The team is looking forward to showing that we can fill the capability gap that exists today.”
If the APKWS II can be successfully demonstrated on these legacy aircraft, it will increase safety by allowing greater standoff range and target engagement closer to friendly troops, during close air support operations in open, mountainous, as well as urban terrain.
“This demonstration is important for these fixed wing aircraft to improve their ability to support our troops on the ground,” said Corey. “Both services are very excited about this demonstration and what it could mean in future operations. If we can show this can work, we’ll take those lessons learned and provide some potential cost savings back to the taxpayer.”