GBU-12 bomb

Raytheon has been awarded a contract to deliver its GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bombs (LGBs) to an undisclosed international customer.

The direct commercial sale award is valued at $422m, but additional contract information has not been disclosed by the company.

Raytheon Missile Systems president Dr. Taylor Lawrence said the contract highlights the company’s commitment to its international customers.

"Paveway has revolutionised tactical air-to-ground warfare by providing the warfighter unparalleled accuracy and standoff capability, proving itself in every major conflict in which it has been used," Lawrence added.

Jointly manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, the GBU-12 Paveway II is an aerial bomb designed to transform unguided bombs into precision-guided weapons using laser and global-positioning guidance systems for tactical air-to-ground warfare missions.

Considered a derivative of the Mk 82 general-purpose bomb, Paveway II features a nose-mounted laser seeker and fins for enhanced guidance and also to reduce battlefield risks for warfighters.

Additional features include detector optics for weight reduction, enhanced detector sensitivity and maximum canard deflection, reduced thermal battery delay after release, increased laser coding detector field of view (FOV), as well as folding wings for carriage.

Having initially entered into service in 1976, the bomb is currently operational with the US Air Force, Navy, US Marine Corps, Royal Canadian Air Force, Colombian Air Force, as well various other Nato air forces worldwide.

Paveway II has been deployed by the USAF for missions including Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Unified Protector and Operation Desert Storm, during which it reportedly destroyed 88% of its fixed armour targets.

Image: a GBU-12 bomb being loaded onto an aircraft. Photo: courtesy of 2nd Class Danny Ewing Jr, US Navy.