The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Boeing a $139,8 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the procurement of 12,000 additional Precision Laser Guidance Sets for the Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition, said U.S. Department of Defense on Monday.
The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is a low-cost guidance kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurately guided “smart” weapons.
The JDAM kit consists of a new tail section that contains an inertial navigation system/global positioning system (INS/GPS) and body strakes for additional stability and lift. Bombs can be accurately delivered in any weather conditions and be launched at a great distance from the target, and the navigation system can be relied on to update the weapon all the way to impact.
According to a statement put out by the Department of Defense, work is expected to be completed in April 2020.
The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and the militaries of more than 26 additional countries employ JDAM. Its first operational use was during Operation Allied Force in the Balkans in 1999. JDAM has been used extensively in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and most recently in NATO’s Operation Unified Protector in Libya.
The Laser Joint Attack Direct Munition (Laser JDAM) expanded the capabilities of the JDAM. Because of its modular design, an affordable laser sensor kit can be installed on an existing JDAM in the field within minutes. In addition to the all-weather GPS/INS capability that conventional JDAMs offer, Laser JDAM adds the ability to prosecute targets of opportunity, including mobile and maritime targets.
Laser JDAM is operational on U.S. Navy F/A-18, F-35C/B 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.