JDAM is a low-cost
guidance kit converting existing unguided free-fall bombs into
accurately guided “smart” weapons. It is comprised of control
Surfaces strapped onto the weapon's outer frame, and tail section
housing the guidance kit, electronics and movable tail fins,
which guidance maneuverability for guidance. Additional
versions of the weapon including imaging infrared seekers and
seekerless, are under
development for the US Navy. Range extension kits designated
Diamond Back are also under development by MBDA for JDAM and its
Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) derivatives. The weapon is constantly
undergoing upgrades, and one of the recent additions is the
introduction of new GPS-anti jam equipment, designed by Harris.
Based on mission
planning target allocation parameters, JDAM can attack
simultaneously, multiple targets in a coordinated strike by
single or multiple aircraft. In October 2003 the U.S. Air Force
successfully completed their first 80 guided weapon flight test
demonstration of the MK-82 500-pound JDAM from a
B-2 bomber. The
bomber engaged 80 separate targets with 80 JDAMs in a single 22-second pass.
All bombs were released from four “smart” bomb racks, flew their
planned flight paths and attacked all 80 targets. Before JDAM is
dropped, the weapon must be loaded with a set of coordinates to
designate the main and alternate targets.
To enable more
efficient response to targeting opportunities, the US Navy and
Boeing are developing the Hornet
Autonomous Real-time Targeting (HART) system, based on the
Hornet's on-board radar imaging capability.
Kill Assist Adverse Weather Targeting
System (KAATS) is further enhancing cooperative SAR/GPS
targeting capability, and extend it to provide flight corrections
during the weapon's flight, KAATS uses target cuing based on
Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indication (SAR/GMTI)
imaging, which automatically extracts information for JDAM
targeting and continue feeding the JDAM with updated target
information, enabling engagement of mobile or relocateable.
JDAM kits for high-explosive blast fragmentation and penetration
warhead of the Mk-84/BLU-109 (2,000lb) class, Mk-83/BLU-110 class
(1,000lb) and Mk-82 (500 lb) warheads. Further adaptations of the
kit were designed for 250lb Mk-81 bombs. JDAM weapons were used
extensively in recent conflicts. In Kosovo 1999) 652 were dropped,
during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (2002) 4,600 were
used and further 6,542 in OIF, in March-April 2003.