The Department of Defense awarded Boeing $162 million yesterday for production of the Joint Direct Attack Munition to meet both U.S. Air Force and Navy requirements.
JDAM kits for the U.S. Air Force total 7,247. The U.S. Navy will receive 916.
This is the fourth lot of low-rate initial production JDAM kits. A decision on full-rate production is expected later this year. LRIP began in the spring of 1997. Boeing has received orders for approximately 16,000 kits of the 87,000 that the U.S. government has plans to procure.
Production of Lot 4 will begin in March 2001 and ramp up to a rate of 700 kits per month in the Boeing weapons facility in St. Charles, Mo. Production is scheduled to run through February 2002.
JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into highly accurate guided weapons. The weapon can be launched up to 15 miles from the target in virtually any weather condition. It uses information received from an Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System to locate targets and guide the missile.
The weapon first saw operational use during Operation Allied Force. U.S. Air Force B-2 bombers launched more than 650 of the all weather weapons during the Balkans conflict. Subsequently the U.S. Navy has used JDAMs in Operation Southern Watch.
JDAM is a program selected by the U.S. Department of Defense to test methods for streamlining the acquisition process. By incorporating extensive use of commercial practices and off-the-shelf components, the JDAM team is able to maintain low system cost.
Most U.S. military attack/bomber aircraft have already demonstrated JDAM capability, including the U.S. Air Force B-1, B-2, B-52 and F-16, and the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps F/A-18. Plans are under way to demonstrate compatibility with the Air Force F-15, F-117 and F-22; the Marine Corps AV-8B; Navy F-14, and the Joint Strike Fighter.
A range extension demonstration is under way as part of a product improvement program. Two launches are scheduled to demonstrate a wing kit capable of extending the range of JDAM 35 miles.