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US supplies Ukraine with JDAM-ER kits that convert unguided bombs to precision guided munition.

| 2023

According to information published by Russian Social Network on March 7, 2023, the United States would have delivered to Ukraine the latest generation of guidance tail kit Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range (JDAM-ER) that converts unguided bombs into all-weather precision-guided munitions.
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Artist rendering of JDAM-ER Joint Direct Attack Munition - Extended Range that converts conventional aerial bombs to precision-guided munitions (Picture source: Boeing)

Currently, there is no information about the number of JDAM-ER (Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range) kits delivered to Ukraine and which aircraft were adapted to use these new bombs. The bombs equipped with the JDAM-ER will offer a new tactical advantage to the Ukrainian air forces, indeed, it can hit a target at a range of up to 72 km launched from an altitude of 14 km and also offer a high level of accuracy.

The JDAM-ER is a guidance tail kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurate, adverse weather "smart" munitions. With the addition of a new tail section that contains an inertial navigational system and a global positioning system guidance control unit, JDAM improves the accuracy of unguided, general-purpose bombs in any weather condition.

JDAM enables the employment of accurate air-to-surface weapons against high-priority fixed and relocatable targets from fighter and bomber aircraft. Guidance is facilitated through a tail control system and a GPS-aided INS. The navigation system is initialized by transfer alignment from the aircraft that provides position and velocity vectors from the aircraft systems.

Once released from the aircraft, the JDAM autonomously navigates to the designated target coordinates. Target coordinates can be loaded into the aircraft before takeoff, manually altered by the aircrew before weapon release, or automatically entered through target designation with onboard aircraft sensors. In its most accurate mode, the JDAM system will provide a weapon circular error probable of 5 meters or less during a free flight when GPS data is available. If GPS data is denied, the JDAM will achieve a 30-meter CEP or less for free flight times of up to 100 seconds with a GPS-quality handoff from the aircraft.

JDAM can be launched from very low to very high altitudes in a dive, toss, or loft and in straight and level flight with an on-axis or off-axis delivery. JDAM enables multiple weapons to be directed against single or multiple targets on a single pass.

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