The Laser Joint Attack Direct Munition (Laser JDAM) expands the capabilities of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit produced by Boeing that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into near-precision guided “smart” weapons. The JDAM kit consists of a tail section that contains a Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System and body strakes for additional stability and lift.
Because of its modular design, an affordable laser sensor kit can easily be installed on an existing JDAM in the field within minutes. In addition to the outstanding all-weather GPS/INS capability that conventional JDAMs offer, Laser JDAM now adds the flexibility to prosecute targets of opportunity, including mobile and even maritime targets.
U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force
Germany became the first international customer for Laser JDAM in 2008.
Currently, tail kit variants are integrated with the MK-84 2,000-pound and BLU-109 2,000-pound (900-kg) warheads (GBU-31). MK-83 1,000-pound (GBU-32) and MK-82 500-pound (225-kg) warheads (GBU-38) are in production to deliver the cost-effective JDAM. When employed, these weapons have proven highly accurate and can be delivered in any flyable weather. JDAM can be launched from more than 15 miles from the target with updates from GPS satellites to help guide the weapon to the target. Laser JDAM has been integrated with the GBU-38. Follow-on integration with the GBU-31 and GBU-32 is planned.
Laser JDAM is operational on U.S. Air Force F-15E and F-16 and U.S. Navy F/A-18 and A/V-8B platforms. Boeing completed the Laser JDAM development and testing cycle in less than 17 months, and delivered the first production Laser JDAMs to the U.S. Air Force in May 2008. Laser JDAM was successfully employed in combat in Iraq in August 2008. The U.S. Navy’s first Laser JDAMs were delivered in October 2008. In March 2010, the Navy selected Laser JDAM to satisfy its Direct Attack Moving Target Capability (DAMTC) requirement.
In March 2011, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded Boeing an $8 million contract that represents the first major production order for 700 Lot 1 Laser JDAM sensor kits.