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Tuesday, November 25, 2014


A Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is a guidance kit that converts unguided bombs, or "dumb bombs" into all-weather "smart" munitions. JDAM-equipped bombs are guided by an integrated inertial guidance system coupled to a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, giving them a published range of up to 15 nautical miles (28 km). JDAM-equipped bombs range from 500 pounds (227 kg) to 2,000 pounds (907 kg). When installed on a bomb, the JDAM kit is given a GBU (Guided Bomb Unit) nomenclature, superseding the Mark 80 or BLU (Bomb, Live Unit) nomenclature of the bomb to which it is attached.
The JDAM is not a stand-alone weapon, rather it is a "bolt-on" guidance package that converts unguided gravity bombs into Precision-Guided Munitions, or PGMs. The key components of the system consist of a tail section with aerodynamic control surfaces, a (body) strake kit, and a combined inertial guidance system and GPS guidance control unit.

The JDAM was meant to improve upon laser-guided bomb and imaging infrared technology, which can be hindered by bad ground and weather conditions. Laser seekers are now being fitted to some JDAMs.

From 1998 to August 20, 2013, Boeing delivered 250,000 JDAM kits, producing over 40 guidance kits per day.
250,000 in 15 years - or about 16,000 per year. That ought to put this number in perspective (Hat Tip: Michael Yon).
Nov 24/14: Israel. Israel is buying 3,000 JDAM tail kits with “the ultra-tightly coupled capability,” using a maximum $82.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. This isn’t Israel’s first buy (q.v. Dec 12/10 request, April 12/13).
Work will be performed at St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete by Nov 30/16. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Hill AFB, UT (FA8213-15-D-0002, DO 0001, MOD 02).
 Yon asks whether Hamas is tracking this order. I think it might be of even more interest to Iran. Heh.

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