The SAAF intends arming its new Saab Gripen fighters with the Paveway II laser-guided bomb (LGB).
Armscor, the state–owned defence acquisition agency has issued a request for quotation to Tau Aerospace of Bedfordview and the Raytheon Company of the US for the procurement of GBU-12 Paveway II systems.
The GBU-12 Paveway II is an American guidance kit, turning a Mk 82 500-pound general-purpose bomb into a laser-guided air-to-ground “smart” bomb.
The kit consists of a nose-mounted laser seeker and tail fins for guidance and control.
A high degree of accuracy is achieved when an operator (either airborne or ground-based) illuminates a target with a laser designator.
The bomb is then guided to a spot of laser energy reflected from the target.
When a target is illuminated by a laser, the guidance fins react to signals from the laser seeker in the nose and steers the weapon to the target. Wings on the tail provides lift and the aerodynamic stability necessary for in-flight maneuvering.
The SAAF has already ordered the Rafael/Zeiss Litening III laser designation pod (LDP) for use on the Gripen C single-seat and D dual-seat fighters.
The Gripen has already been cleared to use the Litening III with the GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bomb. This provides Gripens with a full night-attack/all-weather precision guided munition (PGM) capability.
The order is in line with the SAAFs stated intention of ordering weapons that have already been cleared for use on the Gripen.
According to Raytheon’s fact sheet for the Paveway 2, 99 deliveries of guided munitions will yield a circular error probable (CEP) of only 3.6 feet, versus a CEP of 310 feet for 99 unguided bombs dropped under similar conditions.
The Cheetah aircraft, which were withdrawn in favour of the Gripen, were also capable of carrying the 745 Paveway-style LGB.
Coinciding with the above request, Armscor also issued a request for quotation to Tau Aerospace and Societa Esplosivi Industiali SpA of Italy on the same date for procurement of Mk-82 500lb aircraft bombs and applicable fuzing.
The same guidance kit can also be fitted to a Mk 83 1000lb bomb, creating the GBU-16 Paveway II.
The tender closing dates for both requests is 19 October.