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An early Pave Sword laser pod on a F-4D during the Vietnam War, 1971.

The word PAVE is a United States Air Force program identifier relating to electronic systems. Prior to 1979, Pave was said to be a code word for the Air Force unit responsible for the project.[1][2] Pave was used as an inconsequential prefix identifier for a wide range of different programs,[3] though backronyms and alternative meanings have been used.[4] For example, in the helicopters Pave Low and Pave Hawk it was said to mean Precision Avionics Vectoring Equipment,[4] but in Pave Paws it was said to mean Precision Acquisition Vehicle Entry.[3]

PAVE systems[edit]

  • Pave Hawk – Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk special operations and combat search and rescue helicopter.
  • Pave Knife – Ford Aerospace AN/AVQ-10 Pave Knife early laser targeting pod.
  • Pave Low – Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low special ops and combat search and rescue helicopter.
  • Pave Mint - Upgrade of the AN/ALQ-117 electronic warfare system to the AN/ALQ-172.
  • Pave Mover – Demonstration program to develop the AN/APY-7 radar wide-area surveillance, ground moving target indicator (GMTI), fixed target indicator (FTI) target classification, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR), for the E-8 Joint STARS.
  • Pave Onyx – Vietnam era Advanced Location Strike System c.1973.[5]
  • Pave Pace – A fully integrated avionics architecture featuring functional resource allocation.
  • PAVE PAWS – The Phased-Array Warning System which replaced the three BMEWS radars. Pave in this case is a backronym for Perimeter[6] or Precision Acquisition Vehicle Entry.[3]
  • Pave Penny – Lockheed-Martin AN/AAS-35(V) laser spot tracker.
  • Pave Pillar – Generic core avionics architecture system for combat aircraft.
  • Pave Pronto – Lockheed AC-130 Spectre gunship program.
  • Pave Spectre – Lockheed AC-130E gunships.
  • Pave Eagle – Modified Beechcraft Bonanza drone aircraft for low altitude sensor monitoring.
  • Pave Spike – Westinghouse AN/ASQ-153\AN/AVQ-23 electro-optical laser designator pod.
  • Pave Sword – AN/AVQ-11 Pave Sword laser tracker.
  • Pave Tack – Ford Aerospace AN/AVQ-26 electro-optical targeting pod. Used first on F-4 and then later on F-111F model aircraft.
  • Paveway – A family of laser-guided bomb conversion kits, to be fitted to standard unguided bombs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Engineering Panel on the PAVE PAWS Radar System (1979). Radiation Intensity of the PAVE PAWS Radar System (PDF) (Report). National Academy of Sciences. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  2. ^ "Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR)". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Photographs / Written Historical and Descriptive Data: Cape Cod Air Station Technical Facility/Scanner Building and Power Plant (PDF) (Report). p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  4. ^ a b "The Acronym That Wasn't". Aerofiles. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  5. ^ Smith, John Q.; Byrd, David A (1991). Forty Years of Research and Development at Griffis Air Force Base: June 1951 – June 1991 (Report). Rome Laboratory. p. 130. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  6. ^ Winkler, David F; Webster, Julie L (June 1997). Searching the Skies: The Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program (Report). Champaign, IL: U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. LCCN 97020912. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  • "Laser Guided Bombs". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 24 May 2015. - Contains a list of PAVE program names relating to Laser Guided bombs