The 2,000-pound (907kg) bombs, which are designed to punch through the roof or wall of a hardened building, have been prepared for use and could be loaded onto an aircraft and flown to attack a Gaddafi-regime target in Libya in just a few hours.
The arrival of the Enhanced Paveway III bombs adds to a suite of complementary air-to-ground weapons carried by the RAF’s Typhoon and Tornado aircraft.
With Enhanced Paveway II, Paveway IV, and dual-mode seeker Brimstone, the RAF was already equipped to strike a range of targets while minimising collateral damage.
Enhanced Paveway III gives the RAF an additional capability to attack hardened structures in Libya like command centres or communications nodes. Such targets are key to disrupting regime control of its forces, preventing attacks that could target civilians.
Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
The introduction of Enhanced Paveway III bombs is another way in which we are developing our tactics to protect civilians and achieve the intent of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.
We are not trying to physically target individuals in Gaddafi’s inner circle on whom he relies, but we are certainly sending them increasingly loud messages. Gaddafi may not be capable of listening but those around him would be wise to do so.
Over the weekend UK Armed Forces were again in action over Libya as part of NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR to protect Libyan civilians under threat of attack and enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
The Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Communications Officer, Major General John Lorimer, said:
Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon ground attack aircraft destroyed a main battle tank near Jadu on Saturday, and on Sunday engaged a multiple rocket launcher and support vehicles south of Zlitan.
On Monday, further RAF patrols near Zlitan located five heavy transporters carrying main battle tanks - all were destroyed or severely damaged. RAF VC-10 tankers, and Sentinel, Sentry and Nimrod R1 surveillance aircraft, continue to provide vital and widespread support to UK and NATO operations over Libya, while Royal Navy vessels maintain their surveillance patrols off the coast.