French air force Mirage 2000D strike aircraft will soon be able to employ dual-mode (both laser- and GPS/INS-guided) Enhanced Paveway II precision munitions, now that France has placed a $22-million contract with Raytheon for the ordnance plus weapons integration on the Mirage 2000D, the U.S. company said Feb. 6.Raytheon's dual-mode GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II precision-guided weapon, in this case seen underneath an F-16 of the Royal Danish Air Force. Photo: RDAF
France's Mirage 2000Ds already use the standard 500-lb laser-guided Paveway II weapon (designated the GBU-12) during their operations over Afghanistan in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
And the country already has operational experience over Afghanistan with the 500-lb dual-mode Enhanced Paveway II (designated the GBU-49), gathered during 2007 when the French navy operated in support of ISAF with its Super Etendard Modernise (affectionately known as the "SEM") strike aircraft, flying from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Arabian Sea.In 2007, France already gathered operational experience with the GBU-49 when its navy used the weapon in Afghanistan, dropped by Super Etendard Modernise ("SEM") strike aircraft that flew from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Photo: French navy pilot "Kubi" via RNoAF
The latest contract calls for Raytheon to provide the French air force with upgrade kits to convert 500-lb Paveway II laser-guided bombs into the more capable dual-mode GBU-49.
According to Raytheon, the GBU-49 is a precision weapon that has been extensively employed by U.S. and allied forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq. French air force Mirage 2000D strike aircraft at Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan. Now, these jets will also be equipped with Raytheon's dual-mode precision-guided munition. Photo: Armee de l'Air
Enhanced Paveway II is already in operational use on several other U.S. and NATO military aircraft including the French Navy's Super Etendard as well as Denmark's F-16AM/BM.
According to French navy GBU-49 program officer Commander Yann de Champsavin, "Enhanced Paveway II gives our French operators a true all-weather precision-attack capability, which matches affordability with standoff range, accuracy and reliability."