India set to acquire precision bomb technology
Thursday, 21 June 2007, 07:00 Hrs
Paris: India's state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is negotiating the acquisition of precision bomb technology from US arms major Raytheon. Ben Ford, senior manager of Raytheon Missile Systems, told IANS at the ongoing Paris Air Show that the company was in discussions to transfer the technology for the Enhanced Paveway-II Dual Mode GPS/Laser Guided Bombs to the OFB for their indigenous manufacture in India for use by the Indian Air Force (IAF). Procedural clearance from the US government should be available, he added. The Paveway, initially developed in 1964, is a standard US Air Force weapon with varying loads for attacking fixed or moving targets. Thanks to its new Global Positioning System (GPS) and laser guidance capability, it can now be dropped exactly as required on a target with an error margin of less than four feet. During the 1999 Kargil War, the IAF had to make last minute imports of laser guidance kits to bomb Pakistani positions inside Indian territory and two aircraft had to be used to designate and hit any target. With both the GPS and laser technologies now available on the same bomb, a strike mission could be mounted with less deployment and without any collateral damage. The IAF's last two chiefs, Air Chief Marshals S. Krishnaswamy and S.P. Tyagi, had emphasised the need for acquiring precision bomb technology. Ford said that Raytheon had supplied some Paveway bombs to India about 10 years ago but now the discussions were about transfer of technology (TOT) "of this very potent weapon". It can be launched from the Jaguar, Mirage 2000 or other IAF jets in any weather condition, and at day or night. He said that Raytheon had supplied more than 250,000 Paveway variants to the US and other countries and some 50,000 of these had used in battle, most recently in Iraq. The unique dual mode capability of the Paveway-II offered precision and flexibility "not available with any other system at present", Ford pointed out.