Australian Weapon

The Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range (JDAM ER) demonstrated significant range increase while maintaining its expected accuracy during flight-testing conducted by Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

A guided bomb unit-54rests on the wing of a F-16 Fighting Falcon at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The GBU-54 is the Air Force's newest 500-pound precision weapon, equipped with a special targeting system that uses a combination of Global Position System and laser guidance to accurately engage and destroy moving targets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz)
A guided bomb unit-54rests on the wing of a F-16 Fighting Falcon at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The GBU-54 is the Air Force’s newest 500-pound precision weapon, equipped with a special targeting system that uses a combination of Global Position System and laser guidance to accurately engage and destroy moving targets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz)

The testing centered on a new wing kit that, when used in conjunction with the weapon’s guidance kit, increases the bomb’s range from approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) to more than 45 miles (72 kilometers), as shown during tests above the Woomera Test Range in Australia.

«The JDAM ER wing kit takes advantage of the conventional JDAM aircraft interface and Small Diameter Bomb glide technology», said Beth Kluba, vice president, Boeing Weapons and Missile Systems. «This keeps integration, development and sustainment costs low while bringing customers the range increase needed to neutralize current and future threats».

The 500-pound (227-kilogram) winged JDAM, jointly developed by Boeing and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation, was dropped from RAAF F/A-18 Classic Hornets from altitudes ranging from 40,000 feet (12,190 meters) down to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). The weapon deployed its wing kit successfully during each test and flew to a pre-determined aim point, impacting within meters of its target.

«The extended range wing kit will allow the Australian Defence Force to employ JDAM more flexibly and safely in the target area», said Rear Adm. Tony Dalton, responsible for the acquisition of Guided Weapons in Australia. «Additionally, the program also stands to significantly benefit local Australian industry».

Boeing will produce and integrate JDAM ER wing kits for the RAAF under a contract awarded in 2011. Following additional flight and certification testing, production and initial deliveries of JDAM ER to the RAAF are planned for 2015.

Ferra Engineering supplies major sub-assemblies for the JDAM ER modular wing kit to Boeing from its facility in Brisbane, Australia.

JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit that converts existing unguided bombs into near-precision weapons. Including the JDAM ER wing kit, Boeing designed JDAM technology to accept a variety of upgrades such as a laser sensor, improved immunity to GPS jamming, and an all-weather radar sensor. Boeing has built more than 260,000 JDAM tail kits in its Saint Charles, Missouri, facility since production started in 1998. JDAM is used by 27 international militaries.

Staff Sgts. Michael Jackson and Anthony Bagen align a 500-pound GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition before connecting it to an F-16 Fighting Falcon
Staff Sgts. Michael Jackson and Anthony Bagen align a 500-pound GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition before connecting it to an F-16 Fighting Falcon

 

Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition

Description and Purpose

The Laser Joint Attack Direct Munition (Laser JDAM) expands the capabilities of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit produced by Boeing that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into near-precision guided «smart» weapons. The JDAM kit consists of a tail section that contains a Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) and body strakes for additional stability and lift.

Because of its modular design, an affordable laser sensor kit can easily be installed on an existing JDAM in the field within minutes. In addition to the outstanding all-weather GPS/INS capability that conventional JDAMs offer, Laser JDAM now adds the flexibility to prosecute targets of opportunity, including mobile and even maritime targets.

Customers

U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and six international countries use the laser sensor kit on their JDAMs.

F-15E-1 firing 4 JDAM missiles, with Edwards AFB markings
F-15E-1 firing 4 JDAM missiles, with Edwards AFB markings

General Characteristics

Currently, tail kit variants are integrated with the Mk-84 2,000-pound and BLU-109 2,000-pound (900-kg) warheads (GBU-31). Mk-83 1,000-pound (450-kg) (GBU-32) and Mk-82 500-pound (225-kg) warheads (GBU-38) are in production to deliver the cost-effective JDAM. When employed, these weapons have proven highly accurate and can be delivered in any flyable weather. JDAM can be launched from more than 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the target with updates from GPS satellites to help guide the weapon to the target. Laser JDAM has been integrated with the GBU-38. Follow-on integration with the GBU-31 and GBU-32 is planned.

Background

Laser JDAM is operational on U.S. Air Force F-15E and F-16 and U.S. Navy F/A-18 and A/V-8B platforms. Boeing completed the Laser JDAM development and testing cycle in less than 17 months, and delivered the first production Laser JDAMs to the U.S. Air Force in May 2008. Laser JDAM was successfully employed in combat in Iraq in August 2008. The U.S. Navy’s first Laser JDAMs were delivered in October 2008. In March 2010, the Navy selected Laser JDAM to satisfy its Direct Attack Moving Target Capability (DAMTC) requirement.

In September 2012, Boeing received a $22.7 million modification to an existing U.S. Navy contract for more than 2,300 Laser JDAM sensors, starting full-rate production in order to meet the Navy’s DAMTC program requirements.

Very accurate and highly reliable, JDAM can be delivered in virtually any weather condition
Very accurate and highly reliable, JDAM can be delivered in virtually any weather condition

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