Raytheon has successfully demonstrated the wireless integration of its enhanced paveway II precision-guided GBU-49 bomb, called the wireless paveway avionics lit (WiPAK), on the French Navy Rafale aircraft.
During the test, the Rafale aircraft dropped an enhanced paveway II GBU-49 bomb from the Biscarrosse test range in south-west France, which successfully hit the target and validated the weapon system’s capability while meeting all requirements within the range.
Raytheon Missile Systems Air Warfare Systems vice president Harry Schulte said that the WiPAK would use wireless connectivity technology.
"With WiPAK, warfighters can easily and quickly provide targeting information, employ paveway and gain all the benefits of a GPS/INS guided smart weapon for a fraction of what it would cost to integrate weapons through traditional means," Schulte said.
Without requiring changes to the flight and stores management software or any modifications to aircraft wiring the avionics kit, WiPAK enables more affordable paveway integration on a wide range of aircraft.
"Enhanced paveway II GBU-49 has been in operation with the French Navy for more than six years on their Super Etendard Modernise." Schulte said. "The success of the SEM programme led the French Navy to investigate adding the enhanced paveway II to their next generation Rafale fighter."
Featuring a small wireless transmitter and a small receiver affixed to the paveway weapon, the WiPAK is currently operationally on counterinsurgency aircraft and is also undergoing testing for deployment on other similar aircraft, as well as fighter jets.
Extensively used during Operation Harmattan in Libya, the enhanced paveway kit can transform ‘dumb’ bombs into precision dual-mode, GPS/INS and laser-guided ‘smart’ munitions.
More than 350,000 paveway weapon kits have been delivered by Raytheon to 42 countries for the integration on some 17 aircraft.
Image: A French Navy Dassault Rafale aircraft landing onboard USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) aircraft carrier. Photo: US Navy photo by mass communication specialist 1st class Denny Cantrell.