Demand Signal Growing to Convert Dumb Bombs to Smart Weapons with JDAM
From extensive use during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, to today’s high operations tempo, there’s increasing demand for Joint Attack Direct Munition (JDAM) guidance kits to convert existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurately guided “smart” weapons.
The JDAM guidance kit upgrades existing dumb bombs to add control and lift as well as a Global Positioning System aided Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) for precise targeting capability. Guiding free-fall bombs to targets reduces collateral damage, compared with an un-guided bomb, and also reduces the number of weapons needed to neutralize targets. This level of precision and reliability has made JDAM the preferred precision guided munition for the U.S. and 27 international allies.
Last year, international allied nations filled orders exceeding 11,000 JDAM guidance kits – a record order quantity. Boeing Weapons & Missile Systems in St. Charles, Mo., where the low cost kits are built, is responding by increasing production to meet U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and international demand that’s expected to continue into 2015 and beyond.
JDAM kits can be built up in the field based on mission requirements. Additional add-on capabilities such as a laser sensor kit allow JDAMs to hit moving targets. There’s also an extended range wing kit for JDAM being developed and tested by Boeing and the Commonwealth of Australia to extend the range of a conventional JDAM from approximately 15 miles to more than 40 miles. In a shrinking budget environment, the JDAM system offers a cost effective and flexible option for global military operations.