Air Weapons: Wi-Fi For Smart Bombs


July 19, 2012: The manufacturer of the Paveway series of guided bombs has come up with a simple solution to a growing problem: that for each new type of aircraft to use the Paveway, you need to design and install wiring so that the pilot can program the bomb with GPS coordinates and, of course, send the launch command. The solution is to use a form of wi-fi (called WiPAK) that eliminates the wiring. All the pilot needs is the Paveway controls to be mounted in the cockpit and a wi-fi receiver in the bomb (which is only meters away from the cockpit).

While Paveway smart bombs were originally only laser guided, there are now GPS versions as well. The new Paveway IV is a dual guidance (laser/GPS) kit that is attached to an unguided bomb. The 50.5 kg (111 pound) Paveway kit contains guidance electronics, computers, and battery powered winglets. But to work, the carrying aircraft must have a fire control system that enables the pilot to get the GPS data (received from troops on the ground) into the Paveway IV equipped bomb. WiPAK quickly takes care of that.

Over 250,000 Paveway bomb kits have been produced in the last 45 years, of which about twenty percent have been used in combat, with great success. Earlier versions of Paveway did not have GPS. Most only had laser guidance. While more accurate, laser guidance requires that someone on the ground or in the air be shining a laser on the target. The Paveway then homes in on the reflected laser light (of a particular frequency).



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