Lockheed Martin and Raytheon bag $650m Paveway II laser-guided bomb contract from the US Air Force
Lockheed and Raytheon are expected to complete making the bombs by 27 July, 2023Reuters

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have won another contract from the US Air Force for the manufacture of Paveway II precision-guided munitions (PGMs), a type of laser-guided bomb. Combined, the contract is said to be worth about $650m (£451.25m, € 570.78m).

Announcing the deal, the US Department of Defense said: "Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Archibald, Pennsylvania (FA8213-11-D-0007), and Raytheon Missile System, Tucson, Arizona (FA8213-11-D-0008), have been awarded a combined not-to-exceed $649,730,000 modification (P00005/ P00008) for Paveway II production."

The funding and work location of each and every single order in the contract will be determined by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), the US Air Force branch, which is in charge of the life cycle management of air force weapon systems from their inception to retirement. The bombs are expected to be fully completed by 27 July, 2023.

This is not a fresh first-time contract for Lockheed Martin and Raytheon but a five-year extension on a previously awarded contract. The number of PGMs that will be manufactured has not been disclosed.

The Paveway series of laser-guided bombs was developed by Texas Instruments in 1964. It was also referred to as Paveway I. These have literally changed the gravity bombs, which are also called 'dumb' bombs or unguided bombs, into precision guided weapons.

The Paveway I eventually gave way to the improved Paveway II, in the early 1970s. These have a more reliable seeker and pop-out rear wings which help in improving the weapon's performance. The Paveway II PGM puts a precision-guidance kit into the conventional 'dumb' bomb.

More than 50% all the air-to-ground precision guided weapons used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US used the Paveway series of bombs.