Air-Launched Weapons

USMC set to deploy APKWS on F/A-18 Hornet

01 March 2018
NAVAIR has released this picture of APKWS (loaded into twin seven-cell LAU-131 A/A pods) on an F/A-18 aircraft. Source: NAVAIR

The US Marine Corps (USMC) is preparing to introduce the BAE Systems WGU-59/B Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II (APKWS II) into operational service on F/A-18A-D Hornet strike fighters.

In a 27 February Twitter post, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) released a photograph of APKWS loaded onto a F/A-18 aircraft belonging to VMFA-314. The image, taken the previous week, showed APKWS loaded into twin seven-cell LAU-131 A/A pods “to prepare for the weapon’s initial deployment with the aircraft”.

APKWS II is a precision-guided 2.75-inch rocket system that integrates a low-cost Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) guidance section with existing Hydra 70 rocket motors and either the Mk 152 or M282 warheads. Designed as a ‘plug and play’ kit, the DASALS unit is installed between the Hydra 70 warhead and the rocket motor; the seeker aperture is divided into four elements, with each element placed on the four wings of the guidance section to provide an integrated navigation solution of the weapon.

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