RAF laser-guided bomb contract secures hundreds of UK jobs

A £60m deal announced today for extra RAF pre­ci­sion muni­tions will help sus­tain hun­dreds of UK jobs.

An RAF armour­er care­ful­ly clos­es the cas­ing of a Pave­way IV ’smart bomb’ (stock image) [Pic­ture: Sergeant Pete Mobbs RAF, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge
A Tor­na­do GR4 is armed with Pave­way IV bombs at Gioia del Colle, Italy (stock image) [Pic­ture: Sergeant Pete Mobbs RAF, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The con­tract is for Pave­way IV, which is among the most advanced pre­ci­sion bombs in the world and con­sid­ered the back­bone of the RAF’s bomb­ing capability. 

The con­tract has been award­ed to Raytheon UK and will sus­tain some 450 jobs in advanced weapons man­u­fac­tur­ing at its plants in Glen­rothes, Scot­land and Har­low, Essex. 

A num­ber of jobs will also be sus­tained at sub­con­trac­tors Portsmouth Avi­a­tion Ltd, Portsmouth and Thales plant based in Basingstoke. 

Pave­way IV proved high­ly effec­tive dur­ing the 2011 air cam­paign over Libya and is also cur­rent­ly used in Afghanistan on Tor­na­do jets. 

It is fit­ted with Glob­al Posi­tion­ing Sys­tem (GPS) tech­nol­o­gy and laser guid­ance sys­tems which mean that the pre­ci­sion deliv­ery of the capa­bil­i­ty is unaf­fect­ed by clouds or smoke screens, giv­ing the UK the capa­bil­i­ty to con­duct 24-hour attacks against a wide range of targets. 

The weapon has a UK-devel­oped fail-safe fuse mech­a­nism which means that the bomb will only det­o­nate once it has reached its intend­ed target. 

The Min­is­ter for Defence Equip­ment, Sup­port and Tech­nol­o­gy, Peter Luff, said: 

“The Pave­way IV bomb has been proven in com­bat in Afghanistan, where it con­tin­ues to equip RAF Tor­na­dos, and in oper­a­tions in sup­port of the UN over Libya. 

“It is a high­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed weapon and this con­tract will both boost the MOD’s weapon stocks and sup­port the employ­ment of hun­dreds of skilled staff at plants across the UK who are work­ing on this project. 

“As we pro­gres­sive­ly sta­bilise the Defence bud­get, we are increas­ing­ly able to com­mit to equip­ment projects which help to safe­guard our nation­al security.” 

Assis­tant Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice-Mar­shal Baz North, said: 

“Pave­way muni­tions have long been a suc­cess sto­ry for the Roy­al Air Force in terms of their pre­ci­sion bomb­ing capa­bil­i­ty. The abil­i­ty to oper­ate in any weath­er means that we are able to sup­port oper­a­tions 24/7; Pave­way IV weapons are a real asset to not only the Roy­al Air Force, but to Defence as a whole.” 

Pave­way IV was first intro­duced to oper­a­tions in Afghanistan in 2008 and plans are in hand to fit it to the RAF’s Typhoon com­bat air­craft in 2013. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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