APKWS to be in­te­grated on un­manned air­craft


For the first time, the Ad­vanced Pre­ci­sion Kill Weapon Sys­tem (APKWS) will be in­te­grated onto an un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle, BAE Sys­tems has an­nounced. The com­pany, which de­signed and man­u­fac­tures the guid­ance sec­tion of the laser­guided rocket, was re­cently awarded a US Navy con­tract to add the APKWS onto the MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV.

“APKWS’ pre­ci­sion fire­power will soon be avail­able on a UAV plat­form,” said Roy Rum­baugh, APKWS pro­gramme man­ager at BAE Sys­tems. “With BAE Sys­tems’ in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies, the Fire Scout will en­gage tar­gets on land or at sea with laser-guided ac­cu­racy while keep­ing our warfight­ers out of harm’s way.”

The sys­tem is be­ing in­te­grated onto the Fire Scout in re­sponse to an ur­gent op­er­a­tional need and is be­ing pre­pared for rapid de­ploy­ment. BAE Sys­tems will sup­port this rapid APKWS in­te­gra­tion by per­form­ing sys­tem analy­ses and mod­el­ling based on its high fi­delity, in­te­grated flight sim­u­la­tor.

“This ex­pan­sion onto un­manned air­craft is the next ex­cit­ing step af­ter demon­strat­ing per­for­mance on both rotary and fixed-wing manned air­craft,” Rum­baugh said.

Un­manned air­craft can op­er­ate in regimes that are con­sid­ered too haz­ardous for manned air­craft and dra­mat­i­cally ex­pand the types of mis­sions that can be con­ducted from sur­face ships. The APKWS is the US Gov­ern­ment’s only pro­gramme of record for the semi-ac­tive laser-guided 2.75inch rocket. tems (HACMS) pro­gramme spon­sored by the De­fense Ad­vanced Re­search Projects Agency (DARPA). The four-and-half-year con­tract calls for Rock­well Collins to de­velop cy­ber se­cu­rity so­lu­tions for un­manned air ve­hi­cles, with ap­pli­ca­bil­ity to other net­work-en­abled mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles.

John Borgh­ese, Vice Pres­i­dent of the Rock­well Collins Ad­vanced Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter, said the com­pany’s ex­per­tise in se­cu­rity cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of com­plex sys­tems and the use of for­mal meth­ods was a key in ac­quir­ing the con­tract. For­mal meth­ods are the ap­pli­ca­tion of rig­or­ous math­e­mat­i­cal rea­son­ing and ad­vanced anal­y­sis tools to prove rel­e­vant prop­er­ties about a sys­tem.

“Mak­ing sure soft­ware is de­signed cor­rectly from the be­gin­ning is para­mount to guar­an­tee the se­cu­rity of mil­i­tary com­put­ing plat­forms,” added Borgh­ese.

Rock­well Collins is lead­ing a team that in­cludes Boe­ing, Galois, Na­tional ICT Aus­tralia (NICTA), and the Univer­sity of Min­nesota.

The goal of the HACMS pro­gramme is to cre­ate tech­nol­ogy for the con­struc­tion of high-as­sur­ance cy­ber-phys­i­cal sys­tems. These sys­tems must be func­tion­ally cor­rect and sat­isfy ap­pro­pri­ate safety and se­cu­rity prop­er­ties. HACMS will adopt a clean-slate, for­mal meth­ods-based ap­proach to en­able semi-au­to­mated code syn­the­sis from ex­e­cutable, for­mal spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

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