July 31, 2010: For the first time in 25 years, South Africa has made a major purchase of American weapons. The South African Air Force is buying several dozen Enhanced Paveway-II Dual Mode GPS/Laser Guided Bomb kits. This is a guidance kit that, once attached to a one ton, half ton or quarter ton bomb, can achieve precise (within a meter or less) accuracy using a laser designator, or use GPS guidance to land within ten meters of the aiming point. The U.S. firm that manufactures the Paveway bombs, Raytheon, has produced over 250,000 kits so far, of which about twenty percent have been used in combat, with great success. The South African Paveway kits will be delivered next year.
South Africa wants these smart bombs for its 26 new Gripen fighter-bombers, where were designed to use such weapons. The Paveway kits cost about $50,000 each and have a shelf life of about ten years. South Africa has no well armed enemies in the region, but these highly accurate smart bombs could, for example, be used for attacking camps used by foreign rebel groups.