Raytheon has delivered its Paveway II laser-guided smart bombs to France, for deployment in the air force’s fleet of 2,000 Mirage aircraft, in support of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Under the $22m contract, signed at the beginning of 2009, Raytheon will deliver 50 upgraded avionics kits to the French Air Force, to convert 500lb laser-guided bombs into more effective dual-mode GBU-49 smart bombs.

The guidance kits will enhance the unguided gravity bombs’ accuracy and ability to hit moving targets that is offered by laser-guidance.

The GPS, which will be available for back-up, will help the Mirage aircraft pilot to drop bombs even in bad weather conditions that normally affects operation of lasers.

The first operation batch will consist of ten interface units and 50 GBU-49s, which will be deployed onto the aircraft at the beginning of 2010.

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