The French Air Force and Raytheon have successfully completed a demonstration of a penetrator variant of an Enhanced Paveway II GBU-50 bomb from a Mirage 2000D multirole fighter aircraft.
The bomb scored a direct hit against a reinforced concrete slab, meeting all flight objectives during the demonstration at an undisclosed location.
Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice-president Mike Jarrett said the company is committed to delivering GBU-50’s unique capabilities to the French customer.
"Raytheon offers a proven, cost-effective dual mode solution that is fully compatible with the MK-84 and BLU-109," Jarrett said.
An enhanced dual-mode GPS and laser guided version of Raytheon’s laser-only GBU-10 bomb, the GBU-50 provides the 2,000lb MK-84 or BLU-109 penetrator with an all-weather GPS navigation capability, along with precision terminal laser guidance in the battlefield."
The munition combines a full range of selectable terminal impact angles together with a mature combat-proven, height-of-burst to maximise operational capabilities of both MK-84 and BLU-109 penetrators during combat missions.
Each Enhanced Paveway II bombs’ guidance and control section is fully compatible with a wide range of warheads, eliminating the requirement for warfighters to employ a different guidance and control section for different warhead use.
The Paveway II is designed to transform ‘dumb’ unguided bombs into precision-guided weapons using laser and GPS-guidance systems for tactical air-to-ground warfare.
Fired by the Litening III targeting pod, or from troops on the ground using a laser target designator, the weapon enables effective destruction of small, hardened targets, including main battle tanks and other armoured vehicles, with minimum collateral damage.
Currently operational with the US, the UK, Canada, Colombia and several Nato air forces, the Paveway family of laser-guided and GPS-guided munitions have been employed extensively during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Unified Protector.
Image: The French Air Force and Raytheon used a Mirage 2000D fighter for Enhanced Paveway II GBU-50 demonstration. Photo: courtesy of Arpingstone.