GBU-27 Paveway III
|GBU-27 Paveway III|
|Primary function:||2,000 pound (900 kg) unpowered, hard target laser guided weapon|
|Length:||13 ft 10 in (4.2 m)|
|Diameter:||2 ft 4 in (711 mm)|
|Wingspan:||5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)|
|Range:||More than 10 nautical miles (19 km)|
The GBU-27 Paveway III (Guided Bomb Unit) is a laser-guided bomb with bunker buster capabilities, it is a GBU-24 Paveway III (fitted on the warhead of the BLU-109 bomb body) that has been redesigned to be used by the F-117A Nighthawk stealth ground attack aircraft. The pilots flying over Iraq during the first gulf war nicknamed it the "Hammer", for its considerable destructive power and blast radius.
The GBU-27 was used in Operation Desert Storm. It was the weapon used in the February 13, 1991 attack on the Amiriyah shelter, which resulted in the deaths of more than 400 Iraqi civilians. It was also used in a series of strikes on the Muthanna State Enterprise site during February 1991, which the U.S. military falsely identified as the heart of the Iraqi chemical weapons production infrastructure.
The first foreign sale of the GBU-27 was the acquisition by Israel of 500 units equipped with BLU-109 penetrating warheads, authorized in September 2004. (Raas and Long 2006) Delivery of such precision guided weaponry was accelerated at the request of Israel in July 2006, though the exact munition were not specified. Israeli Defense Forces officials state that other precision-guided munitions have been used to attack Hezbollah facilities in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. However, the bunker busting technology in the GBU-27 could be directed, according Israeli military sources, at Iran or possibly Syria.
- Don, Holloway (March 1996). "STEALTH SECRETS OF THE F-117 NIGHTHAWK: Its development was kept under wraps for 14 years, but by 1991, the F-117 nighthawk had become a household word.". Aviation History (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Cowles Magazines). ISSN 1076-8858.
- William Winkenwerder, Jr., MD, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense, "The Gulf War Air Campaign - Possible Chemical Warfare Agent Release at Al Muthanna, February 8, 1991", November 15, 2001.
- NY Times
- Anton La Guardia - Israel challenges Iran's nuclear ambitions, September 22, 2004
- Whitney Raas and Austin Long, Osirak Redux? Assessing Israeli Capabilities to Destroy Iranian Nuclear Facilities, MIT Security Studies Program Working Paper, April 2006.