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Rockets queued from an F-16 targeting pod were demonstrated as viable munitions to perform cruise missile defense. The US Air Force successfully demonstrated the intercept of an aerial target using the AGR-20A Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket. 

A subscale drone was shot down from the F-16 Fighting Falcon targeting pod in a cruise missile defense test, the US Air Force announced.

The test executed by the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida represents an adaptation of the AGR-20A — which was developed as a low-cost, low-collateral-damage air-to-ground weapon for use in Afghanistan and Iraq — for counter-air use.

At a cost of $30,000, the AGR-20A is about four percent of the cost of an AIM-120 missile commonly used for cruise missile defense, according to

Results suggest the AGR-20A could be adapted to replace the AIM-120, which is more expensive and takes longer to load, according to

The squadron planned the test with support across the Air Force and with contract partners in line with the Air Force’s tactics improvement proposal of finding a more efficient cruise missile defense weapon.

“This proof of concept can have implications for homeland defense missions, combined defense of the Arabian Gulf and beyond,” Col. Ryan Messer, 53rd Wing Commander, stated.