The US revealed an intention to donate several thousand APKWS II smart rockets to Ukraine shortly after the Lend-Lease Act was passed.
The APKWS II Smart Rocket was designed to be launched from fixed-wing aircraft and combat helicopters, but Ukraine will most likely receive a ground-launched version. The US aims to send thousands of 70 mm APKWS high-precision guided rockets to Ukraine, which are adapted from the renowned Hydra 70 rocket and have a target range of up to 11 kilometres. According to statistics, roughly 50,000 APKWS guided missiles have been produced since 2012, and the US aims to provide several thousand of these armaments to Ukraine from stocks. It’s unclear how the high-precision rocket will be launched at the target, although ground-based launchers are a possibility, with drones providing guidance.
This is a plausible scenario, especially because BAE Systems and Arnold Defense recently completed a series of tests of the AGR-20A Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS II) size 2.75 inch/70 mm launched from the ground in partnership with the US Navy. “The test confirmed the APKWS II smart rocket’s adaptability in delivering precision strike capabilities to ground forces rather than the traditional aircraft deployment.” In a news release, a BAE Systems spokesman remarked, “This weapon system provides soldiers with a unique solution to eliminate targets at longer ranges than small weapons without the requirement for air support.”
The concept’s reliability was demonstrated when a number of APKWS II rounds were accurately shot at fixed targets at the US Army’s Yuma Test/ Base in the Arizona desert at the end of 2018. determined. The launch platform is an integrated system of the US Army’s Conventional Remote Controlled Weapons Station (CROWS) and an Arnold Defense Land 2.75 inch/70 mm Fletcher missile launcher. The Land-LGR4 is a lightweight four-tube laser-guided missile launcher designed for ground-based weapons that may be installed onto a number of combat platforms. The complex is meant to give a single fire effect, or to provide an effective precision strike – within a range of 6 km – against fixed and moving ground targets within a range of 1 – 8 km.
With a weight of 25.4 kg (unladen), a length of 1.9 metres, and a diameter of 20.3 cm, the Land-LGR4 can be easily placed on light tactical vehicles, remote control weapons stations, and stationary platforms. On the battlefield, the widespread employment of low-cost guided weapons like APKWS poses a serious threat, especially because launches may be carried out at a relatively high frequency, equal to numerous rocket launchers.
However, it should be noted that the APKWS smart rocket has not yet been tested in combat, thus more research into its actual efficiency will be required.