GBU-24 Paveway III

The Guided Bomb Unit-24 (GBU-24) Low Level Laser Guided Bomb [LLLGB] consists of either a 2,000-pound MK-84 general purpose or BLU-109 penetrator bomb modified with a Paveway III low-level laser-guided bomb kit to add the proportional guidance in place of the bang-bang type used in the Paveway II. The LLLGB was developed in response to Sophisticated enemy air defenses, poor visibility, and to counter limitations in low ceilings. The weapon is designed for low altitude delivery and with a capability for improved standoff ranges to reduce exposure. The GBU-24 LLLGB/Paveway III has low-level, standoff capability of more than 10 nautical miles. Performance envelopes for all modes of delivery are improved because the larger wings of the GBU-24 increases maneuverability. Paveway III also has increased seeker sensitivity and a larger field of regard.

The operator illuminates a target with a laser designator and then the munition guides to a spot of laser energy reflected from the target. One way to deliver LGBs from low altitude is a loft attack. In this maneuver, the aircraft pulls up sharply at a predetermined point some miles from the target and the LGB is lofted upward and toward the target. However, if the LGB guidance system detects reflected laser energy from the target designator too soon after release, it tends to pull the LGW down below its required trajectory and the bomb will impact well short of the target.

This bomb is not nearly as delivery parameter sensitive as is the Paveway II LGB, nor is it affected by early laser designation. After a proper low altitude delivery, the LLLGB will maintain level flight while looking for reflected laser energy. If it does not detect reflected laser energy, it will maintain level flight to continue beyond the designated target, overflying friendly positions, to impact long, rather than short of the target.

Unlike the Paveway II LGB, the LLLGB can correct for relatively large deviations from planned release parameters in the primary delivery mode (low-altitude level delivery). It also has a larger delivery envelope for the dive, glide and loft modes than does the earlier LGB. The wide field of view and midcourse guidance modes programmed in the LLLGB allow for a "Point Shoot" delivery capability. This capability allows the pilot to attack the target by pointing the aircraft at the target and releasing the weapon after obtaining appropriate sight indications. The primary advantage of this capability is that accurate dive/tracking is not required to solve wind drift problems.

In the Gulf War all of the 1,181 GBU-24s were released by F-111Fs.

In 1996 the Navy conducted tests of the F-14A Tomcat with the GBU-24B/B Hard Target Penetrator Laser-Guided Bomb at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., as part of an air-to-ground development program to support clearance for use of the weapon in the fleet by F-14 Tomcats.

 

Information obtained from:

Federation of American Scientists
1717 K St., NW, Suite 209
Washington, DC 20036