The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded US defence prime Boeing a more than $7.4bn contract for the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity provision of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits, spare, repairs, and laser JDAM sensor kits.

In a 24 May 2024, contract notice, the DoD stated that the work was expected to be completed by the end of February 2030, and was awarded as a sole source acquisition. At the time of the award Fiscal 2022, 2023, and 2024 procurement funds, operation and maintenance funds, research, development, test, and evaluation funds, US Navy, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) funds of nearly $228.2m was obligated.

The award came three days after the US State Department approved the possible FMS to Canada of JDAM tail kits and related equipment in a deal that could be worth up to $96.4m (C$132m).

In the request, Canada sought “an additional” 690 KMU-572 JDAM tail kits, 75 KMU-556 JDAM tail kits, and 25 KMU-557 JDAM tail kits that are to be added to a previously implemented case whose value was under the congressional notification threshold.

The original FMS case, valued at $16.1m included a total of 210 KMU-572 JDAM tail kits, 50 KMU-556 tail kits, and 25 KMU-557 tail kits. Boeing was named as principal contractor.

All told, the combined notification was for a total of 900 KMU-572 JDAM tail kits, 125 KMU-556 tail kits, and 50 KMU-557 tail kits. Also included were Laser Illuminated Target Detectors, FMU-139 fuzes, and other support.

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JDAM: a mainstay of US and Allied strike capability

According to manufacturer Boeing, more than 500,000 JDAM tail kits have been built, systems that ‘convert’ free-fall ‘dumb’ munitions into guided smart weapons. The tail kit contains an inertial navigation system/global positioning system guidance capability for MK-82, BLU-111, and BLU-126 (500lb/225 kg); MK-83 and BLU-110 (1,000lb/450kg); and MK-84, BLU-109, and BLU-117 (2,000lb/900kg) bombs.

Boeing states that the JDAM can be dropped from an “extremely flexible release envelope” more than 15 miles from its intended target. The system has recorded a more than 95% system reliability during testing, and achieved less than 1.7 metre circular error probability (CEP) accuracy against a 3.3 metre CEP requirement, the company adds.

The Joint Direct Attack Munition has been in production since 1998 and has seen “significant sales” in the international market, while also being in service with the US military.

Upgraded JDAM systems are also under development, including a powered design that increases the range of the munition to over 70km.