Aerial Warfare

US State Department Approves Sale of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) to Canada

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US State Department Approves Sale of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) to Canada

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US State Department Approves Sale of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) to Canada
US State Department Approves Sale of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) to Canada

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Canada of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Tail Kits and related elements of logistics and program support for an estimated cost of $96.4 million. The proposed sale will improve Canada’s capability to meet current and future threats by increasing available stores of munitions for its air force. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the military capability of Canada. Canada already has the JDAM in its inventory and will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. The principal contractor will be Boeing Corporation, located in St. Louis, MO.

The Government of Canada has requested to buy an additional 690 KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits; 75 KMU-556 JDAM tail kits; and 25 KMU-557 JDAM tail kits that will be added to a previously implemented case whose value was under the congressional notification threshold. The original Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case, valued at $16.1 million ($11.8 million in MDE), included a total of 210 KMU-572 JDAM tail kits; 50 KMU-556 JDAM tail kits; and 25 KMU-557 JDAM tail kits. This notification is for a combined total of 900 KMU-572 JDAM tail kits; 125 KMU-556 JDAM tail kits; and 50 KMU-557 JDAM tail kits. Also included are Laser Illuminated Target Detectors; FMU-139 fuzes; and other related elements of logistics and program support.

The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is a guidance kit that converts unguided bombs, or “dumb bombs”, into all-weather precision-guided munitions. JDAM-equipped bombs are guided by an integrated inertial guidance system coupled to a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, giving them a published range of up to 15 nautical miles (28 km). JDAM-equipped bombs range from 500 to 2,000 pounds (230 to 910 kg). The JDAM’s guidance system was jointly developed by the United States Air Force and United States Navy, hence the “joint” in JDAM. When installed on a bomb, the JDAM kit is given a GBU (Guided Bomb Unit) identifier, superseding the Mark 80 or BLU (Bomb, Live Unit) nomenclature of the bomb to which it is attached.

The JDAM is not a stand-alone weapon; rather it is a “bolt-on” guidance package that converts unguided gravity bombs into precision-guided munitions (PGMs). The key components of the system are a tail section with aerodynamic control surfaces, a (body) strake kit, and a combined inertial guidance system and GPS guidance control unit. The JDAM was meant to improve upon laser-guided bomb and imaging infrared technology, which can be hindered by bad ground and weather conditions. The JDAM autonomously navigates to the designated target coordinates. Target coordinates can be loaded into the aircraft before takeoff, manually altered by the aircrew in flight prior to weapon release, or entered by a datalink from onboard targeting equipment, such as the LITENING II or “Sniper” targeting pods.

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