Paveway Iv Bomb – One of the Most Accurate Bombs in the World
Paveway IV was first used by the Royal Air Force during the Operation Herrick in Afghanistan. It was later used in the Operation Ellamy in Libya, Operation Shader in Iraq and Syria, as well as in the intervention in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia.
According to sources, the Trump administration is planning to sell about 7,500 Paveway IV smart bombs to Saudi Arabia. The contract value is about $500 million. Paveway IV is a high-precision guided bomb manufactured by Raytheon Technologies.
Notice of the supply plan was submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Relations Committee in mid-January 2020.
Paveway is a line of laser guided bombs (LGBs) of British origin. Pave or PAVE is sometimes used as an acronym for precision avionics vectoring equipment. Literally, electronic devices to control the speed and direction of the aircraft.
Pave is also used in conjunction with other words to name laser systems that designate targets for LGBs, such as Pave Penny, Pave Spike, Pave Tack and Pave Knife, and for specialized military aircraft, such as AC-130U Pave Specter, MH-53 Pave Low and Hawk-60 Pave Hawk.
Paveway Development history
The Paveway laser-guided bomb series was developed by Texas Instruments in 1964. The program was implemented on a tight budget, but the result, simplicity and economy in manufacturing proved to be of great benefit and advantage over other complex weapons. The first test weapon was the M117 bomb as a warhead, took place in April 1965. Weapon prototypes have been sent to Vietnam for testing since 1968.
In January 1967, the US Air Force opened Project 3169 – the formal engineering program for development of precision guided munitions. The testing time was very short, only one year in Vietnam. At that time, the program had three divisions: Paveway 1 – laser-guided munitions; Paveway 2 – an electro-optical guidance, developed by Rockwell International, designated HOBO, meaning “Homing Bomb”. 4,000 were produced and 500 were used in combat. Finally, Paveway 3 – an infrared homing system that was never deployed.
Because Paveway 2, although significantly more accurate and capable, was four to five times more expensive per unit and less applicable to most targets in Vietnam. Paveway 1 has thus become the emphasis of the program. The Paveway kit attach to a variety of warheads, including a semi-active laser seeker, a computer control group containing guidance and control electronics, thermal battery, and pneumatic control augmentation system.
The first series was named Paveway I, which was replaced in the early 1970s by the improved Paveway II. Paveway II had a simpler, more reliable seeker and the rear wings pop out to improve the weapon’s glide capabilities.
Paveway III was started in 1976 and put into use in 1986. It integrates a much more sophisticated seeker, with broader vision and proportional guidance, minimizing the energy loss of course corrections. Paveway III has a significantly longer glide range and greater accuracy than Paveway II, but it is more expensive, using it only for high-value targets.
The Paveway III guidance kits were also used on the GBU-28/B penetration bomb at the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Paveway III was also used by the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 during the Kargil War in 1999.
Raytheon, the only supplier of Paveway III variants, currently offers both standard and advanced versions for US and foreign customers. Existing LGBs in the US Air Force inventory can be upgraded to Dual Mode Laser Guided Bombs (DMLGB) by adding the Global Positioning System data acquisition device, allowing use of all weather conditions.
Paveway IV is the result of cooperation of Raytheon Systems Ltd (RSL) based in the UK and Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) of the United States. It has been in use since 2008 in the Royal Air Force. In March 2017, Lockheed rebranded its Paveway Dual-Mode Plus to “Paragon” to compete with Joint Direct Attack Munition JDAM, which has comparable features while “at least 30% cheaper” thanks to the cheaper microprocessor and guidance electronics.
Paveway IV specifications
Paveway IV has a length of 3.1m, a diameter of 0.27m, a wingspan of 0.42m, weighs 225kg (500 lb). It is guided by inertia, with or without GPS assistance, and semi-active lasers. The warhead is an upgraded Mk 82 bomb, the detonator can be detonated at an optional altitude, glide range over 30km depending on the drop altitude. It has subsonic flight speed.
Thales Aurora’s Multi-Event Hard Target Fuze (MEHTF) is highly functional and safe. The detonators can detonate in the air, on impact or after impact. The post-collision detonation mode allows the bomb to explode inside buildings or underground targets, after piercing the roof. GPS location information is provided by the Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module.
According to experts, if using only GPS navigation, the probability of error can be up to 10m. Meanwhile, Paveway IV, thanks to a combination of GPS navigation and inertial navigation system, along with semi-Active Laser, it will not be jammed. It has a probability of being less than 1m, capable of significantly minimizing property damage around the target. Paveway IV has a very low cost, high accuracy in all combat conditions, regardless of weather, day or night.
Paveway IV combat history
Paveway IV was first used by the Royal Air Force during the Operation Herrick in Afghanistan. It was later used in the Operation Ellamy in Libya, Operation Shader in Iraq and Syria, as well as in the intervention in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia. According to reports, in early May 2020, the Royal Air Force released the first images of Typhoon air strikes using Paveway IV smart bombs against ISIS terrorists in Iraq. Thanks to the Paveway IV, Typhoon’s attack has almost absolute precision.
On June 19, 2015, a Royal Air Force test pilot dropped two Paveway IV laser-guided bombs from an F-35 Lightning II in US trials. Paveway IV is a future candidate for integration on the F-35.