03 June 2020
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (OTS) to manufacture USD3.42 billion worth of Hydra 70 rockets.
An Apache helicopter launching a Hydra 70 rocket. This weapon can be used as either an unguided air-to-surface munition or with the APKWS kit as a laser-guided munition.
The US Army Contracting Command award, announced by the DoD on 29 May, covers production and engineering services of the 70 mm rockets, and will run through to 30 September 2026. The DoD did not disclose the numbers of rockets being acquired.
The Hydra 70 is an unguided air-to-surface rocket that has been in service with the United States and international operators since the mid-1960s. The rockets fire from seven and 19-tube launchers and can be mounted on most rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft including the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter and Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole combat aircraft.
While the baseline Hydra 70 is an unguided rocket, it can be converted into a laser-guided munition with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) conversion kit developed by BAE Systems.
As the APKWS system is a development of existing hardware it does not require any platform integration and little in the way of additional air- and ground-crew training. The mid-body design of its guidance section enables the use of existing warheads, fuzes, and rocket motors, dramatically enhancing the capability of the hundreds of thousands of Hydra 70 rockets in the DoD inventory.
The APKWS has demonstrated an average hit accuracy of within 0.75 m of a designating laser spot (against a government specification of 2 m).
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (OT...