BAE Systems Demonstrates Effectiveness of Rockets Against Agile, High-Speed Military Drones

An illustration of a precision-guided rocket taking out a Class 2 drone. Credit: BAE Systems

HUDSON, N.H.—BAE Systems said it completed additional ground-to-air test firings to prove the effectiveness of 70mm rockets guided by APKWS kits—the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System—against speedy Class 2 unmanned aircraft that weigh 25 to 50 pounds and can fly up to 100 miles per hour.

During the demonstration in Southern Arizona, five APKWS-guided counter-UAS rockets were fired from a containerized weapon system and destroyed all targets, including fast-moving drones. The test results further demonstrate APKWS guidance kits’ ability to enable low-cost, precision strikes against airborne threats.

“Militarized drones are becoming more prevalent in conflicts around the world, and we’re giving our customers an efficient way to counter them without wasting expensive missiles,” said Greg Procopio, director of Precision Guidance and Sensing Solutions at BAE Systems. “Our tests demonstrate that APKWS guidance kits have the flexibility to engage a variety of targets to meet the evolving mission needs of the warfighter.”

The 70mm rockets can destroy Class-2 aerial drones by combining standard motors and warheads with APKWS guidance kits and proven proximity/point-detonation fuzes. The resulting precision munition is a low-cost, supersonic, lock-on-after-launch strike weapon with a large 10-pound warhead that can destroy large drones in a matter of seconds with or without direct contact.

BAE Systems had previously tested APKWS kit-equipped rockets against Class 2 drones in October 2021.

Combat-proven APKWS-guided rockets can be fired by many different platforms, including jets, helicopters, trucks, boats, and weapon stations, and stowed APKWS guidance kits protect seeker optics from adjacent rocket fire, unlike nose-mounted seeker optics. APKWS guidance kits are the only U.S. government program of record for 70mm laser-guided rockets. The kits are available to all U.S. armed forces, as well as U.S. allies via Foreign Military Sales.

APKWS guidance kits are produced at BAE Systems manufacturing facilities in Hudson, New Hampshire and Austin, Texas.