Two New International Customers to Receive Laser JDAM in 2010 Released on Thursday, October 08, 2009
Boeing's Laser JDAM Draws International Interest
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 8, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has signed Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contracts with the U.S. government to provide Laser Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) to two international customers.
The FMS contracts are part of a $98 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for Laser JDAM production and integration that Boeing received in August. The weapons are scheduled for delivery in 2010.
"There is strong international interest in Laser JDAM because it engages both stationary and moving targets with tremendous precision," said Dan Jaspering, Boeing director of Direct Attack Programs. "There are more than 20 countries that have JDAM, and we expect many of them will adopt Laser JDAM within the next few years."
A recent Block 08 update to the weapon system's software increases Laser JDAM's effectiveness against targets that are turning, accelerating or decelerating. Boeing has completed two successful maneuvering target missions with the Block 08 software, which is expected to be fielded in 2010. In February, Laser JDAM engaged and destroyed a target traveling at an initial speed of 55 miles per hour that quickly decelerated shortly before weapon impact. The second test took place in August against a target traveling at an initial speed of 50 miles per hour that made a sharp turn shortly before weapon impact.
"This enhanced capability makes Laser JDAM an even greater asset for our customers," added Jaspering. "If the target can be laser-tracked, Laser JDAM will hit it."
Laser JDAM consists of the standard JDAM guidance tailkit and a Precision Laser Guidance Set kit that acquires and tracks laser target signals. The weapon is designed to accurately and effectively engage both stationary and fast-moving targets. The tailkit and laser guidance set are easily attached in the field to convert 500-pound bombs into precision laser or GPS-guided munitions.
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Boeing is making progress on developing an extended range version of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), company officials say.
The weapons recently completed initial wind-tunnel tests, says Kerry Bush, Boeing's JDAM programme manager. It will enter into preliminary design review this July.
"We expect to be in production with extended range in the 2014-2015 timeframe," he says.
The initial extended range variant is a 500lbs-class weapon, Bush says.
But the weapon is not a US Department of Defense programme, rather it is being co-developed with a US ally. Boeing is not able to disclose which nation is purchasing the weapon, but Australia has dabbled in designing such a JDAM wing-kit as back as in 2006.
Boeing says the addition of the wing-kit gives the weapon three times the range of a normal JDAM. Future developments might include a powered variant, Bush says. A powered version could have 10 times the range of a conventional JDAM.