Boeing company has released that it is conducting a series of flight tests
involving a new laser-guided JDAM bomb variant at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
The new weapon is based on 500-pound (250 kilograms) GBU-38 JDAM bomb. This
weapon was introduced recently during military operations in Iraq and provides
effective engagement capability with reduced collateral damage to military
During the first test on January 20, a US Air Force F-16 aircraft dropped the
modified GBU-38 weapon from 25,000-ft (7,600+ kilometers) of altitude and
approximately six miles (11 kilometers) from its target. The weapon detected the
target, which was being illuminated by a ground-based laser designator, and then
executed a direct hit within five feet (1.5 meters) of the designated aimpoint.
The benefit of hybrid laser/JDAM weapons is that no software modification is due
on the aircraft's software to install the new item. That also brings additional
benefit to the US military attack aircraft fleet which already operates JDAM
weapons. JDAM relies on INS/GPS navigation system to reach a target day/night
and all-weather conditions, while laser-guided bombs require clear-weather to
perform correctly. Boeing expects to test the laser/JDAM weapon against both
moving and stationary targets in follow-on tests.
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