Ukraine’s New Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) Rockets Wreaking Havoc On Russian Troops

Soldiers from Ukraine’s 37th Marine Brigade are using a new US laser-guided rocket to destroy Russian targets on the frontline according to a video that was released in May.

The video in question was reported on by Forbes’s David Axe and showed the first use of the American Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) in the Ukraine war.

The APKWS was created by BAE Systems, and according to the arms manufacturer’s website, it was designed to help unguided munitions hit “targets with pinpoint accuracy.”

In the video, the APKWS can be seen being employed against a range of targets but the most impressive was a strike against one of Russia’s tower-mounted radar sensors. 

“The tower strike in particular underscores the APKWS’s precision,” wrote Axe about the weapon’s capabilities. “A tower presents a much smaller target than a building does.”

The BAE Systems’ weapon isn’t actually a weapon at all but rather a laser guidance kit that can be added to unguided guided munitions to make them more accurate on the battlefield. 

On BAE Systems’ website, the arms manufacturer points out that its laser guidance kit can be added to rockets like the Hydra 70 Mk 66, which is likely what was in the video. 

According to BAE, the guidance system can zero in on targets from up to 6 miles away, which provides its users with the unparalleled ability to keep their launch platform safe. 

The APKWS was launched in 2008 and became what BAE called “the most accurate, effective, and easy to implement systems in the world for converting unguided rockets.”

David Axe noted that the laser guidance kit is very versatile in its combat capabilities and it can be fitted to warplanes and helicopters as well as ground vehicles and drones. 

Ground compatibility might be an important game-changer for Ukrainian forces since it will allow them to strike at key Russian targets from a distance with hit-and-run tactics. 

Axe explained that the ground-based APKWSs include their own “laser designator” and these can be used by forward spotters or drones to get a clear line of sight on targets. 

This type of capability will become increasingly important for Ukraine’s Armed Forces as they look to launch their much-anticipated spring counter-offensive against Russia. 

The APKWS could be used to break strong points in Russian defenses or knock out key ground vehicles or communications arrays as soldiers push into the occupied territories. 

“One 70-millimeter rocket packs a 10-pound warhead,” Axe wrote, adding that it was “perfectly capable of blasting open a building, blowing up a lightly-armored vehicle or disabling a tank,” making it one of the most versatile weapons in Ukraine’s arsenal. 

“The precision rocket could be an effective countermeasure to Russia’s 25-pound Lancet suicide drones, which pose a serious threat to lightly-protected Ukrainian artillery and air defenses—especially on the open terrain of southern Ukraine,” Axe added.

The United States first negotiated a contract with BAE Systems to provide Ukraine with its laser-guided system back in May 2022 according to Axe but follow-on contracts have amounted to $60 million in aid which has provided Ukraine with about 2000 kitted-out rockets. 

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