Le Bourget, Paris: US arms major Raytheon has announced that it is negotiating with India's state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the country's major producer of defence equipment, for the sale of precision bomb technology.
Speaking to reporters at the ongoing international air show at Paris, Ben Ford, senior manager, Raytheon Missile Systems, said that the company was in discussions to transfer the technology for the Enhanced Paveway-II Dual Mode GPS/Laser Guided Bombs to the OFB for indigenous manufacture in India.
Procedural clearance from the US government should be available, he added.
The Paveway, is a standard US Air Force weapon with varying loads for attacking fixed or moving targets with an error margin of less than four feet. Initially developed in 1964, the Paveway system has now evolved to using the Global Positioning System aided Inertial Navigation System, along with a laser guidance capability.
Ford also said that Raytheon had earlier supplied some Paveway bombs to India about 10 years ago but the discussions now concerned transfer of technology (TOT) 'of this very potent weapon'.
The Paveway can be launched from Jaguar, Mirage 2000 or other Indian Air Force jets in any weather condition and time of day.
Ford also mentioned that Raytheon had supplied more than 250,000 Paveway variants to the US, and that some 50,000 of these had already been used in battle, most recently in Iraq.
The unique dual mode capability of the Paveway-II offers precision and flexibility 'not available with any other system at present', Ford pointed out.
Enhanced Paveway II dual-mode GPS/laser guided bomb
Last year, in July, the Raytheon Company successfully demonstrated that the Enhanced Paveway II dual-mode GPS/laser guided bomb could be re-targeted in flight using a data link. This allows the weapon system to engage moving targets even in bad weather.
The Enhanced Paveway II features a Global Positioning System aided Inertial Navigation System as well as laser guidance for precision attacks against both fixed and moving targets. The resulting dual-mode capability offers true operational flexibility: GPS guidance for adverse weather and maximum standoff conditions, and laser guidance when required for mobile targets of opportunity.
In a demonstration, using Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircraft, two Paveway II bombs were twice updated in flight with new target coordinates. The precision-guided munitions accepted the re-targeting coordinates and successfully flew to their newly assigned targets.
The tests, which were conducted by the RAF's Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit, marked the first successful demonstration of air-to-ground weapons receiving updated target coordinates after release.
According to Raytheon, updated information can be sent to the weapon by ground-based or airborne forces. This can be done with easily acquired UHF radios.
Existing Paveway II laser guided bombs kits already in inventory can be upgraded with the GPS/INS package. The Paveway bomb kits can also turn "dumb" bombs into precision-guided weapons.
Raytheon says that the Enhanced Paveway dual-mode GPS/laser guided munitions are the only fully developed, combat-proven dual mode weapon systems in production today.