The U.S. Air Force has started to field aÂ BAE Systems-built laser-guided rocket technology on the service branch’s F-16Â Fighting Falcon aircraft to support ongoing combat missions inÂ Afghanistan and Iraq.
It marks the first time that BAE’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System has been deployed on fixed-wing Air Force aircraft, the companyÂ said Wednesday.
“The APKWS fixed-wing fielding has been a true display of joint service and contractor teamwork to quickly deliver a capability to meet Air Combat Command fielding requirements,” saidÂ David Harrold, director of precision guidance solutions at BAE Systems.
The Air Force has bought anÂ initial supply of the rockets out ofÂ the U.S. Navy‘s current inventory and partnered with BAE toÂ obtainÂ additional unitsÂ for integration ontoÂ F-16 and A-10Â Warthog planes.
Harrold added the APKWS’Â plug-and-play featureÂ makes it possibleÂ for military customers to use the technology on multiple aircraft platforms.
TheÂ 2.75-inch rocket is designed with aÂ semi-active laser guidanceÂ system andÂ has been in full-rate production over the past four years, according to BAE.