Shortly after the Air Force announced this week it was nearly doubling a contract with Boeing Co. for more guided-bombs, the aerospace giant released the following video of the Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM.
The deal, valued at $3.2 billion, is known as an “umbrella contract” and allows the Air Force to buy as many as 36,500 of the guidance kits in a single order — much-needed flexibility as it seeks to replenish a stockpile depleted from airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
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. They also feature laser sensors to track moving targets.
The munitions are compatible on a number of aircraft in the U.S. and abroad, from fighter jets such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor to bombers such as the B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress to drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper, among others.
The company plans to add new wings that would triple the range of the weapon to 45 miles, an engine to self-power the munition and a datalink and multi-mode sensors so the bomb can fly through inclement weather and clouds, according to the video.