The fleet is addressing the evolving needs of modern day warfare by converting the traditional unguided bomb with a near-precision guided “smart” weapon.
The Navy recently awarded a $23 million full-rate production contract to Boeing Inc. for the Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (Laser JDAM), after successfully completing integrated test. The weapon expands the capability of its predecessor, the JDAM.
“The weapon’s modification provides the naval and joint war fighters with a lethal, interoperable and cost-effective precision strike weapon system,” said Capt. Carl Chebi, Precision Strike Weapons program manager, who oversees the Laser JDAM program. “It has the capability to operate more effectively in adverse weather conditions and combat ground targets in motion.”
Under the modified contract, Boeing will deliver 2,384 precision laser guided sets by February 2014. The sets will be available for field weapons assembly, in conjunction with JDAM tail kits, to provide a dual-mode, Global Positioning System aided Inertial Navigation System and laser guided weapon.
The first production of laser sensor kits were delivered to the Air Force and Navy in 2008, only 17 months after the services’ identified the requirement for a fast moving land target. The Laser JDAM has become part of the Department of the Navy and Air Force standard conventional armament, and combined, have more than 800 combat expenditures.
Since its initial delivery, the modified weapon has accumulated more than 20,000 flight hours for the Navy and Marines. It provides the fleet tactical flexibility for use on all F/A-18 and AV-8B aircraft. It has been successfully employed in combat in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.