1st Non-US Missile Fired From F-35, RAF Typhoons Pound Houthis With Laser-Guided Paveway IV Bombs

A Houthi-run television channel is claiming that airstrikes led by the US and UK have hit Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. “The American-British enemy is targeting the capital, Sanaa, with a number of airstrikes,” the Houthi-run Al-Masirah news network announced.

Noi more information has surfaces while writing this report.

Meanwhile, in retaliation to a string of recent attacks on vessels traversing international shipping routes in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, four Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons deployed Paveway IV-guided bombs to conduct precise airstrikes on Houthi military facilities.

The operation, in cooperation with the United States military, aimed to degrade military capabilities and safeguard “UK and international shipping in the Red Sea.”

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has released footage showcasing RAF Typhoons, laden with Paveway bombs, taking off with full afterburners from Akrotiri in Cyprus.  

In an official press release, the British government disclosed that following the deliberate targeting of Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond and US Navy vessels by rebel forces on January 9, coalition forces identified critical facilities associated with these attacks. Subsequently, a carefully coordinated strike was initiated to diminish Houthi’s capabilities.

Executing this operation, Typhoons armed with Paveway IV-guided bombs conducted precision strikes on two significant Houthi facilities. One of these targets was a site in Bani, north-western Yemen, utilized for launching surveillance and attack drones. The aircraft systematically targeted various buildings linked to drone operations at this location.

The other location struck by the aircraft was the airfield at Abbs, which intelligence revealed as a launch site for cruise missiles and drones over the Red Sea. The plane identified and engaged several crucial targets at the airfield, effectively reducing the Houthi forces’ capacity for further attacks.

The collaborative operation involved American and British aircraft and warships bolstered by Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Bahrain support. 

Air Force Central Commander Lt. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich stated that the strikes targeted more than 60 locations at 16 sites. The operation utilized over 100 precision-guided munitions of various types. 

The strikes were executed by a coalition of air and maritime assets, including US Naval Forces Central Command aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles launched from both surface and sub-surface platforms across the region.

“This multi-national strike reinforces the international community’s commitment to freedom of navigation and against repeated Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missile attacks on commercial and U.S. and coalition military vessels in the Red Sea,” Grynkewich added.

GPS, Laser-Guided Paveway IV Bomb

RAF Typhoons utilized GPS/laser-guided Paveway IV bombs, ideal for ground attack and close air support missions, during the latest operation to target Houthi military installations. 

The Paveway IV bomb proves to be highly effective in addressing a wide range of potential target scenarios for the RAF, establishing itself as the preferred choice for precision strikes. 

Although a comprehensive analysis of the recent strikes is still underway, initial assessments suggest that the Houthis’ capability to threaten merchant shipping has been significantly diminished. 

With cockpit programmable features, including impact angle, impact direction, and fuse delay, Paveway IV provides a highly customizable solution for achieving precise target effects. 

Serving as the latest iteration in the well-regarded Paveway series, this dual-mode bomb is equipped for GPS/INS and laser guidance. 

Paveway IV - Wikipedia
Paveway IV – Wikipedia

Developed through a collaboration between Raytheon’s British and US divisions, the Paveway IV bomb was initially designed for the Royal Air Force (RAF) and officially introduced into service in 2008. 

Its first operational deployment occurred during Operation Herrick in Afghanistan. Subsequently, the bomb played a role in operations such as Operation Ellamy in Libya and Operation Shader in Iraq and Syria.

In a significant milestone, the Royal Air Force incorporated the Paveway IV into Eurofighter Typhoons during strike operations in Syria as part of Operation Shader in December 2015. This marked the first operational use of the bomb from the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The Paveway IV is also compatible with fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets. On June 19, 2015, a Royal Air Force test pilot successfully released two inert Paveway IV laser-guided bombs from a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II during trials in the United States, representing the first firing of a non-US munition in the F-35’s development program.

The RAF’s F-35B fifth-generation fighter jets have regularly deployed the Paveway IV during military drills. 

The bomb’s design comprises a guidance system at the front, a 500lb warhead in the middle capable of penetrating concrete, and a tail section at the back that guides the bomb. A smart fuse controls the detonation process. 

The dual-mode capabilities of the Paveway IV, incorporating both GPS/INS and laser guidance, represent an evolution derived from the adaptation of the Enhanced Paveway II Enhanced Computer Control Group (ECCG) applied to a modified Mk 82 general-purpose bomb. This modification has resulted in a substantial enhancement of the bomb’s penetration performance.