Air Force Boosts Boeing Contract for ‘Smart Bomb’ Kits to $3 Billion

A dozen 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions sit inside a warehouse at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Dec. 17, 2015. The bombs were built by hand by airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron’s Munitions Flight, which had built nearly 4,000 bombs since July. (Photo by James Hodgman/U.S. Air Force)A dozen 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions sit inside a warehouse at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Dec. 17, 2015. The bombs were built by hand by airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron’s Munitions Flight, which had built nearly 4,000 bombs since July. (Photo by James Hodgman/U.S. Air Force)

The Air Force has boosted to $3.2 billion a contract with Boeing Co. for “smart bomb” kits, a move designed in part to replenish a stockpile depleted from U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The Pentagon publicized the agreement for more Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAM, tailkits on Tuesday evening as part of its daily contract announcements.

The kits convert “dumb bombs” into “smart bombs” with a range of up to 15 miles by adding a guidance device that takes signals from a GPS receiver.

“Contractor will provide JDAM strap-on inertial guidance kits with the capability to receive guidance updates from Global Positioning Systems to increase weapon accuracy for conventional inventory bombs,” the announcement states.

The modification nearly doubles a previously existing contract for $1.7 billion “due to warfighter demand and to replenish depleted inventories” of the U.S. and allies, it states. The work will take place in St. Louis.

The Air Force in December warned its stockpile was running low after firing more than 20,000 bombs and missiles during airstrikes against ISIS and called for additional funding to replenish its inventory of munitions, including JDAMs.

“We’re expending munitions faster than we can replenish them,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said at the time, according to a Fox News report. “We need the funding in place to ensure we’re prepared for the long fight. This is a critical need.”

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.