THE V-22 OSPREY FINALLY GETS THE MISSILES AND ROCKETS IT NEEDS

These new weapons stations have been primarily tested with unguided 2.75 inch 'Hydra' rockets and a guided version of the Hydra known as the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, or APKWS for short. The idea behind BAe's APKWS, and a handful of similar guided rockets from other manufacturers, is remarkably simple: Take a 2.75 inch 'Hydra' rocket motor and attach an innovative distributed aperture laser seeker system built into the control fins of a modular guidance section. In front of both the motor and the guidance section, a plethora of different fusing and warheads options can be attached, such as impact detonating high-explosive, air-burst flechette, white phosphorus and more.

When viewing the APKWS as an assembled whole, what you end up with is a lightweight, highly adaptable and very accurate attack munition, of which seven can fit in a LAU-60 style rocket pod attached to the Osprey's improvised 'cheek' weapons station. Currently, each APKWS rocket costs about $30k, which is fairly inexpensive when it comes to guided munitions. Still, that cost will likely drop drastically over time if large quantities of the rockets are bought for a wide array of helicopter, fixed wing and even ground and surface-based weapons platforms. In the end, the APKWS has the potential to become one of the cheapest powered precision guided munitions available.

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