Two Airbus Defence & Space AC-235 light gunships ordered by the Jordanian special operations command have made the type’s public debut at the SOFEX exhibition being held at Marka airport, Amman, this week. They were recently delivered after modification by ATK. Developed in partnership with Jordan’s King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB), the AC-235 is based on the CN-235 tactical transport, two of which were provided by Jordan for the conversion.
Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System
Guided rocket conversion competitors BAE Systems and Raytheon announced new milestones for their respective offerings. BAE’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon (APKWS) and Raytheon’s Talon laser-guided rocket (LGR) convert standard 2.75-inch Hydra rockets into precision guided munitions by adding a semi-active laser guidance package.
The U.S. Navy is fitting Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawk helicopters with a new digital rocket launcher, for the first time enabling them to carry a variety of weapons. The “smart” launcher will be integrated on the MH-60S as part of a rapid deployment capability, and later added to the MH-60R and potentially other platforms, the service said.
Bell Helicopters (Booth No. N5612) and BAE Systems announced the successful qualification of BAE’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) on the Bell 407GT. The APKWS technology transforms a standard 2.75-inch rocket Hydra-type unguided rocket into a laser-guided precision weapon able to strike soft and lightly armored targets in built-up and confined areas. BAE Systems designed the APKWS technology to fill the gap between the Hellfire missile and unguided rockets. The company is the prime contractor for the program, which is managed by the Navy.
After several years of testing, the U.S. Marine Corps has deployed the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) to Afghanistan. The APKWS is a conversion of the Hydra 70-mm unguided rocket into a precision-guided munition through the addition of the WGU-59/B mid-body guidance unit developed by BAE.
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) reported progress in arming the MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV, which will be the Navy’s first sea-based unmanned system to carry weapons. The command said its structures rotary-wing division and the Northrop Grumman Fire Scout team are “working briskly” at Webster Field Annex in Patuxent River, Md., to support an urgent operational needs request from Naval Forces Central Command.
Raytheon and Emirates Advanced Instruments (EAI) have completed environmental and flight tests of the Talon laser-guided rocket, opening the way for production.
Raytheon has successfully completed a series of firing tests in both hot and cold temperature extremes of the Talon laser-guided rocket for the UAE army’s AH-64D Longbow Apaches. The program, which Raytheon and Emirates Advanced Instruments (EAI) began developing together in May 2008, is moving toward the first airborne firings.