13 November 2011

APKWS Certified for Marine UH-1Y

Which means that the modified 2.75" (70mm) rocket, is likely to be purchased by the Corps as a lower cost, and lower blast, alternative to the Hellfire. (background here)

In a related development, the US Navy is looking at arming the Firescout UAVwith the APKWS as well:
Northrop Grumman Corporation has started work outfitting the U.S. Navy’s MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) laser-guided 70mm rocket. Such an armed unmanned platform will provide naval platforms, specifically the Littoral Combat Ship an autonomous engagement capability highly suitable for littoral warfare.

Photo: U.S. Navy

This light weight precison guided weapon is in production for the Navy since 2010. Arming the FireScout with the guided rocket will enable the unmanned helicopter flying off Littoral Combat Ships to engage hostile targets independent of air support from carrier groups or shore based aircraft.

“By arming Fire Scout, the Navy will have a system that can locate and prosecute targets of interest,” said George Vardoulakis, Northrop Grumman’s vice president for tactical unmanned systems. “This capability shortens the kill chain and lessens the need to put our soldiers in harm’s way.”
The original offensive capibility of the LCS was the now-canceled Non Line Of Sight (N.L.O.S.) Precision Attack Missile (P.A.M.), a 40km range missile with an 8 kg warhead.

This has been replaced with the much smaller 3.5 mile range Raytheon Griffin, which is best described as a "Pea shooter", with a warhead about as powerful as a man portable ATGW.

What this means is that the LCS had effectively no meaningful capability as either a surface combatant or to support ground forces. (In the latter case, the ship would be in range of man portable missiles and medium anti-aircraft artillery)

By hanging a 2.75 in rocket on a Fire Scout the LCS will have a marginally capable offensive capability.  The APKWS does not have a particularly large warhead, but with the UAV as a launch platform, the ship will at least be able to put some distance between itself and its potential opponents.


Cthulhu said...

Full disclosure, I worked on the old 2.75 inch Zuni rocket system in the Navy years ago.  I always wondered why they didn't add guidence to them.

Matthew G. Saroff said...

Because until the development of cheap processors that could allow for inexpensive homing heads (see my post about how they use 4 simple sensors to eliminate an expensive gimboled system), it was too much for too little bang.

Not Utah said...

Sorry about this being a bit off topic, but helicopter related topic:  Bad day at the office

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