Air Weapons: No More Imprecision In The Middle East


January 24, 2011: The Saudi Arabia Air Force is spending $475 million to buy 2,500 U.S. Paveway laser guided bombs for its fighter-bombers. These are guidance kits that are added to unguided ("dumb") bombs. This would typically result in something like the GBU-49 dual guidance (laser/GPS) Paveway IV. This is a 227 kg (500 pound) bomb with a 50.5 kg (111 pound) Paveway kit (guidance electronics, computers and battery powered winglets) attached. Saudi Arabia's neighbors are big fans of Paveway, with the UAE recently ordering 1,600 Paveway kits, while Israel has bought some 10,000 kits in the last few years.

The Paveway 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 (31 feet) 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.



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