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Ukrainian Air Force Uses US-Supplied JDAM-ER Precision-Guided Bombs Mounted on Su-27 Fighter


Kyiv, Ukraine, August 25, 2023 - In a significant development that marks a new era in Ukraine's military capabilities, the Ukrainian Air Force has released a photograph of a Su-27 fighter jet equipped with a modified Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER). The image, published on the Air Force's official Telegram account on August 24, 2023, showcases the integration of the U.S.-supplied precision-guided weapon with the Ukrainian fleet.
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US JDAM-ER precision guided munition mounted on Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 fighter jet. (Picture source Ukrainian Air Force)

Earlier in March 2023, the Ukrainian Air Force confirmed the deployment of JDAMs against Russian forces within the country. The U.S. officials had also acknowledged the supply of the long-range JDAM-ER version, capable of hitting targets up to 72 kilometers (45 miles) away. This extended range provides the Ukrainian Defense forces with the ability to deliver high-precision strikes on vital enemy targets, both on the front lines and in the rear, without entering the enemy's air defense zone.

The munition in the photograph is identified as a 500-pound Mark 82 aerial bomb, weighing 230 kilograms, with 89 kilograms of explosives. When equipped with the JDAM-ER kit, the Mark 82 can hit a target at a distance of up to 72 kilometers with a maximum deviation of up to 11 meters.

Despite the Su-27's ability to carry Western aerial bombs, it is still unable to program the point of impact in flight. The entry of the flight program and the target is carried out at the airfield before the ammunition is mounted on the aircraft.

The JDAM system, consisting of a controllable tail and an inertial control system paired with a GPS receiver, has revolutionized aerial warfare by converting conventional bombs into guided munitions. The integration of JDAM-ER with the Su-27 represents a significant advancement in Ukraine's aerial warfare capabilities.

The Sukhoi Su-27, a twin-engine supermaneuverable fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi, is one of Russia's premier air superiority fighters. It was introduced in 1985 and has since become a symbol of Russia's aerospace prowess. With a range of over 3,500 kilometers and a top speed of Mach 2.35, the Su-27 is equipped to handle a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Its advanced avionics, including radar and electronic warfare systems, enable it to engage multiple targets simultaneously, making it a formidable asset in aerial combat.

In addition to its role within the Russian Air Force, the Su-27 has been exported to various countries and has seen action in different conflicts around the world. Despite its age, continuous upgrades and modifications have kept the Su-27 relevant in modern warfare. Its ability to carry a wide range of munitions, including the recent integration with the JDAM-ER in the Ukrainian Air Force, demonstrates the aircraft's adaptability and enduring significance in global military aviation. The Su-27's blend of agility, firepower, and versatility continues to make it a valuable asset for air forces seeking a proven and reliable fighter platform.

This development underscores Ukraine's commitment to enhancing its military prowess and adapting to modern warfare techniques. The integration of JDAM-ER with the Su-27 fighter jet symbolizes a strategic partnership with the U.S. and a robust response to the ongoing conflict.

Experts believe that this move will not only bolster Ukraine's defense capabilities but also send a strong message to its adversaries. The precise and powerful munitions provide a tactical advantage that could prove pivotal in the ongoing conflict.

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