Raytheon has handed over a batch of more than 200 Enhanced Paveway II GBU-50 guidance kits to an undisclosed European customer, marking the completion of the precision-guided munition’s first international delivery.
An enhanced dual-mode GPS and laser guided version of Raytheon’s laser-only GBU-10 bomb, 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.
Raytheon Missile Systems’ Air Warfare Systems vice president Harry Schulte said the delivery represents an important milestone for the Enhanced Paveway II programme as it is designed to offer unique capabilities to the US allies.
"As we begin our second production run of the GBU-50, we have substantial interest from the international community," Schulte added.
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.
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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.
The bombs are currently operational with the US, the UK, Canada, Colombia, as well as several Nato air forces.
The Paveway family of laser-guided and GPS-guided munitions have extensively been employed during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Unified Protector.
Image: A Paveway II laser guided bomb being displayed during 2007 Paris Air Show. Photo: Copyright © 2007 David Monniaux.