June 23, 1998 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Boeing delivered the first production Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) to the Department of Defense today. The delivery ceremony took place at the Boeing JDAM facility in St. Charles, Mo., where the weapon is assembled. According to Boeing, JDAM introduces a new and awesome capability that will revolutionize warfare.
It is a low-cost guidance kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into very accurate guided weapons. The weapon can be launched up to 15 miles from the target in virtually any weather condition. It locates and guides to the target location through position information received from an Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System located in the tail.
has proven to be the most cost-effective of the "smart" munitions. The initial government estimates for unit cost of JDAM kits was approximately $40, 000 each. Innovative development strategies and strict adherence to acquisition reform initiatives allowed Boeing to deliver the weapon for much less than half that amount. The initial production contract is valued at $19. 7 million with the overall contract estimated at nearly $2 billion through the life of the program.
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 CorpsAV-8B; Navy F-14, and the Joint Strike Fighter.