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]

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

PAVE systems

  • Pave Eagle – Modified Beechcraft Bonanza drone aircraft for low altitude sensor monitoring.
  • Pave Hawk – Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk special operations and combat search and rescue helicopter.
  • Pave Nail - OV-10 Bronco with Pave Spot target laser designator pod.
  • 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 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.
  • Pave COIN/Project Little Brother - A USAF program evaluating counter insurgency aircraft during the early 1970s.

See also





  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. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 14, 2014. 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. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. 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. Archived from the original on December 1, 2012. 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
  • Nicknames and Practice Terms, Department of the Air Force, 15 March 1979, p. 30, retrieved 31 January 2022