December 3, 2009:
The French Air Force has received the new, U.S. GBU-49, dual guidance (laser/GPS) Paveway IV smart bombs, and is shipping them off to Afghanistan. There, Mirage 2000D fighter-bombers will use them in support of NATO troops. Earlier this year, the French Air Force received its first batch of GBU-49s, and these were used for testing and training the use of these weapons with French warplanes. The GBU-49 is a 500 pound bomb with a 111 pound Paveway kit (guidance electronics, computers and battery powered winglets) attached.
Earlier, the French Air Force has used GBU-12 (the 611 pound Paveway II) and GBU-22 (the 720 pound Paveway III) laser-guided bombs. The French Mirages are based in Tajikistan. France has a 748 pound (340kg) Sagem air-to-surface missile, which only has GPS and costs (at $200,000) nearly twice as much as the GBU-49.