The Pentagon Is Bringing Its Brand New Rocket Straight To Afghanistan

BAE Missile

Photo: BAE

As discussions of withdrawing from Afghanistan continue, the defence Department has just deployed an advanced new weapon to the frontline. Marines will be the first to use the laser precision-guided rocket, the APKWS (Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System), developed by defence contractor BAE Systems.

And this latest weapons deployment isn’t a bad idea — it will likely save lives.

Katie Drummond at Danger Room reports the Navy has already deployed the laser-targeting weapons which cost $10,000 each — actually a good $90,000 cheaper than the Hellfire “go-to aerial” missiles.

Unlike the Hellfire, the APKWS is pretty small and “svelte” says Drummond, which will have a positive impact on reducing collateral damage.

From Danger Room:

Of course, the military’s already got plenty of air-launched munitions, from ultra-pricey Hellfire missiles to stealthy, radar-evading cruise missiles.

The APKWS is $90,000 cheaper than a Hellfire — the military’s go-to aerial munition — and because it’s a smaller missile, military brass hope it’ll yield fewer dead civilians during air strikes.

It makes sense that the military would deploy the APKWS to Afghanistan, before sending the system anywhere else. Now that the U.S. is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan — and maybe even doing it quicker than anticipated — the military’s no doubt looking for a combat strategy that’ll accommodate more airstrikes and fewer boots-on-the ground.

Not to mention one that might reduce civilian casualties.

BAE Systems says the Marine Corps will first deploy APKWS from AH-1W Cobra helicopters.

But the weapons’ laser technology can be fitted to rockets that would otherwise be unguided, reports Drummond. This means any aircraft, or even drone, with the capability to launch those rockets can use the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon system.

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