The US Navy plans to integrate the newly fielded Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rocket onto the MQ-8B Firescout unmanned helicopter. The US Navy recently awarded a contract for such integration to the weapon developer BAE Systems. The weapon is currently fielded with US Marine Corps AH-1W and UH-1Y manned helicopters and has been used in combat in Afghanistan. The Firescout will become the first unmanned platform to use the laser guided rocket, expanding the operational flexibility and self sufficiency of combat units.
The system is being integrated onto the Fire Scout in response to an urgent operational need and is being prepared for rapid deployment. BAE Systems will support this rapid APKWS integration by performing system analyses and modeling based on its high fidelity, integrated flight simulator.
“This expansion onto unmanned aircraft is the next exciting step after demonstrating performance on both rotary and fixed-wing manned aircraft,” said Roy Rumbaugh, APKWS program manager at BAE Systems.