Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Pentagon to equip JDAM bombs for Ukraine with new seekers

The U.S. Air Force is taking decisive steps to counter the growing threat of Russian GPS jamming, which has severely impacted the effectiveness of Western-supplied GPS-guided munitions, including Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER) precision-guided bombs provided to Ukraine.

In response to these challenges, the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) has awarded a contract to Scientific Applications and Research Associates Inc. for the acquisition and integration of add-on seekers designed to enable JDAM-ER bombs to counter GPS jamming. Valued at $23.5 million, this contract underscores the urgent need to enhance the resilience of precision-guided munitions in contested environments.

The addition of these seekers will equip JDAM-ER bombs with the capability to home in on GPS jammers, effectively turning one of the weapons most impacted by this countermeasure into a direct tool to combat it. This innovative approach demonstrates the adaptability and agility of U.S. defense capabilities in response to evolving threats.

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Work on the integration of these extended range seekers will be carried out in Cypress, California, and St. Louis, Missouri, with completion expected by October 1, 2025. This timeline reflects the urgency with which the U.S. Air Force is addressing the challenges posed by GPS jamming tactics employed by adversaries.

The decision to enhance JDAM-ER bombs follows recent concerns raised by Deputy Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Bill LaPlante regarding the performance of U.S. munitions in the war in Ukraine. Russian electronic warfare systems have been identified as a significant factor contributing to the degradation of the effectiveness of precision-guided munitions, including the Excalibur artillery projectiles.

JDAM bombs, equipped with aerodynamic guidance kits, rely on integrated inertial navigation systems coupled with GPS receivers to navigate to their targets accurately. The extended range variant, JDAM-ER, extends the reach of these precision bombs up to 75 kilometers, providing enhanced capabilities for engaging targets in contested environments.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more

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