04:20 GMT28 January 2020
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    With ongoing Pentagon missile air attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US Air Force has, for the first time, outfitted its aircraft with laser-guided munitions.

    The United States, continuing its anti-terror operations, has kept a fleet of F-16 fighter jets and A-10 ground-attack aircraft stationed in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The weapons on both of these aircraft are about to get a major upgrade.

    "The US Air Force has acquired BAE Systems' Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets…" reads a statement from the defense contracting company.

    "The deployment marks the first time these systems have been used in combat operations from an Air Force fixed-wing platform."

    The system modifies older Hydra rockets by adding a sophisticated, semi-active laser guidance and control mid-section, in what is a cost-effective alternative to purchasing more expensive missiles like Lockheed Martin’s AGM-114 Hellfire. While less powerful, each Hydra costs $30,000 to upgrade.

    "The APKWS rocket’s innovative 'plug and play' design makes it possible to deploy these systems on a variety of platforms," said David Harrold, a BAE Systems spokesman, according to the statement.

    "We are confident that the addition of this highly accurate, low-collateral-damage weapon system will be a game-changer for F-16 and A-10 users in the US Air Force and around the world."

    Prior to Monday’s announcement, the system was tested on the US Marine Corp’s AV-8B Harrier jet and the US Army’s Apache helicopter.

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    Tags:
    A-10, F-16, laser-guided missile, Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), BAE Systems, US Air Force, David Harrold, Iraq, Afghanistan, United States
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