The US Air Force has awarded a contract to Boeing for the production of more than 2,900 joint direct attack munition (JDAM) tail kits.

The JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit that converts existing 500lb, 1,000lb and 2,000lb unguided free-fall bombs into precisely guided ‘smart’ weapons.

The JDAM’s modular design enables easy upgrade of the weapon in the field to provide additional capability, such as laser guidance and extended range.

Boeing director of direct attack programmes Dan Jaspering said the JDAM provides warfighters with an effective, accurate and battle-tested weapon.

According to the $72m contract, Boeing will deliver the kits in 2011 and 2012.

The lot 14 production contract is the second one-year option of a six-year contract the company received in January 2008.

If all options are utilised, the JDAM contract could touch $590m with deliveries extending to 2015.