The UK has moved a step closer to fielding Raytheon Systems' Paveway IV precision-guided bomb with its Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, following the combination's recent successful test release.
Performed from BAE Systems' Warton site in Lancashire using single-seat instrumented production aircraft IPA6, "the trials demonstrated the latest Phase 1 enhancements to the aircraft that enable the full capability of the Paveway IV to be utilised on Typhoon for the UK customer," the airframer says.
Already integrated with the Royal Air Force's Panavia Tornado GR4 force, the Paveway IV is an all-weather weapon in the 226kg (500lb) weight class. Featuring INS/GPS and laser guidance, as well as a programmable fuze capable of providing a variety of impact effects, the bomb has been used during combat operations in Afghanistan and Libya.
Up to six Paveway IVs can be carried by the Typhoon, using under-wing stores stations. Four were carried during the trials activity with IPA6, which had first released an instrumented example of the type in 2011. The RAF expects the precision strike weapon to soon enter operational use with its aircraft, supporting the Eurofighter's multirole transition.
The Paveway IV will also be carried internally by the UK's future Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighters.
Meanwhile, the RAF has agreed to a service interval extension for its Typhoons, which BAE says will save the service more than £100 million ($149 million) over the life of the programme. Under a new maintenance arrangement, the aircraft will undergo scheduled servicing after every 500 flying hours, rather than at 400h, as previously.