Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have successfully tested the new joint direct attack munition extended range (JDAM-ER) wing kit above the Woomera Test Range in Australia.
The modular wing kit has been developed by Boeing in collaboration with Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation. It can be used along with the weapon’s guidance kit to increase the bomb’s range from nearly 15m to more than 45m.
During the flight test, the 500lb winged JDAM successfully deployed its wing kit following launch from a RAAF F/A-18 Hornets from altitudes ranging from 40,000ft to 10,000ft. It flew to a pre-determined aim point, impacting within meters of its target.
Boeing Weapons and Missile Systems vice-president Beth Kluba said: "The JDAM-ER wing kit takes advantage of the conventional JDAM aircraft interface and small diameter bomb glide technology.
"This keeps integration, development and sustainment costs low while bringing customers the range increase needed to neutralise current and future threats."
Australia Guided Weapons acquisition head rear admiral Tony Dalton said: "The extended range wing kit will allow the Australian Defence Force to employ JDAM more flexibly and safely in the target area.
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"Additionally, the programme also stands to significantly benefit the local Australian industry."
While the contract to produce and integrate JDAM ER wing kits for the RAAF was awarded in 2011, Boeing plans to start production and initial deliveries this year. This will follow completion of additional flight and certification testing.
The company receives the JDAM-ER wing kit major sub-assemblies from Ferra Engineering from its facility in Brisbane, Australia.
JDAM is equipped with adjustable tail fins and an inertial navigation system / global positioning system control unit. It is a low-cost guidance kit designed to convert existing 500lb, 1,000lb and 2,000lb unguided free-fall bombs into precisely guided smart munitions.
The kit is capable of accurately delivering bombs from low to high altitudes even in adverse weather conditions. It is currently used by 27 international militaries across the globe.
Boeing has manufactured more than 260,000 JDAM tail kits at its St Charles Missouri facility, US, since production began in 1998.
Image: The JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit that converts unguided bombs into near- precision weapons. Photo: courtesy of USAF.