Paveway II & III
The original version of the Paveway II laser-guided bomb entered service with the RAF in the 1970s and is composed of a standard UK 450kg bomb with a computer control group fitted to the nose, supporting a laser seeker head and steerable fins. A tail unit is fitted with fins that deploy after launch from the aircraft. Laser designation of targets can be provided by the Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designation (TIALD) pod, or from troops on the ground using a laser target designator.
The bomb's guidance package takes over on release from the aircraft and steers the bomb on to the source of reflected laser energy. The bomb can be dropped from low or medium level. During the Gulf War of 1991, Tornado aircraft dropped weapons on targets designated by Tornados carrying TIALD pods and by Buccaneers carrying the Pave Spike pod. Paveway II equips Tornado GR4 and Typhoon aircraft.
Paveway III is an upgraded LGB and is designed specifically to defeat hardened targets, such as protected underground command posts. When Paveway III is released from an aircraft it flies on a pre-programmed course towards its target, using a flight profile designed to give it the best approach to achieve a successful attack. It carries a 900kg penetrator warhead that is steered to the target by a more advanced and precise guidance package, compared with that fitted to the smaller Paveway II bomb. Steerable vanes on the front of the bomb are controlled by a proportional guidance system that increases accuracy, and its range by limiting the amount of kinetic energy lost in maneuvering. Computer-controlled shaping of the attack trajectory maximises the bomb's capacity for penetrating a considerable depth of reinforced concrete to destroy a target.
Paveway III equips Tornado GR4 aircraft.