Last updated: 23 Feb 2017
The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is a guidance kit that converts existing unguided bombs into precision-guided "smart" munitions. The tail section contains an inertial navigational system (INS) and a global positioning system (GPS). JDAM improves the accuracy of unguided bombs in any weather condition. It can be employed from every Navy fighter-attack aircraft such as the AV-8B, F/A-18 and F-14.
JDAM is a guided air-to-surface weapon using either the 2000 lb BLU-109 hard-target-penetrator, the 2000-pound MK 84/BLU-117, the 1,000-pound MK 83/BLU-110, or the 500-pound MK 82/BLU-111 warheads as the payload. JDAM allows aircraft to employ weapons accurately against targets on the ground. The JDAM uses a Global Positioning System (GPS)-aided Inertial Navigation System (INS) combined with a tail control system for guidance. Target coordinates can be loaded into the aircraft before takeoff, manually before weapon release, and automatically entered through target designation with onboard aircraft sensors. This information is then is passed down from the aircraft to the weapon.
Once released from the aircraft, the JDAM navigates to the target autonomously. In its most accurate mode, when GPS data is available, the JDAM system will have an error of less than 13 meters (about 40 feet).
JDAM enables multiple weapons to be directed against single or multiple targets on a single pass.
JDAM performance was demonstrated operationally during Operation Allied Force in 1999 during which 650 JDAMs were dropped and in Operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom; and in Operation Iraqi Freedom, with expenditures of more than 6,000 JDAMs against enemy targets. Additionally, tests included a spectacular display of B-2/JDAM conventional firepower in the release of 80 JDAMs from a B-2 on a single pass against multiple targets. JDAM provides the Navy with an all-weather, affordable, air-to-surface weapons with delivery accuracy exceeding requirements. The Navy received its first JDAM kits in May 1999.
LRIP for the 2,000-pound kits began in FY 1997, and Milestone III was reached in FY 2001. The 1,000-pound JDAM kit reached initial operational capability (IOC) in FY 2002, and IOC for the 500-pound weapon occurred during the second quarter of FY 2005.
In September 2006, the Departments of the Navy and Air Force put in place a low-cost, non-developmental enhancement to the GBU-38 (500-pound) JDAM to address moving targets. Open competition and source selection completed in February 2010, and the Air Force awarded a contract to Boeing for a version of Laser JDAM (LJDAM) that provides a direct-attack moving-target capability. LJDAM (GBU-54) is a 500-pound dual-mode weapon that couples the GPS/INS precision of the JDAM and laser-designated accuracy of the laser-guided bomb into a single weapon. LJDAM also provides added capability and flexibility to the Fleet's existing inventory of precision-guided munitions to satisfy the ground moving-target capability gap. LJDAM reached IOC in FY 2012. The Navy is developing the GBU-58 Laser JDAM for the BLU-109 penetrator to field in 2018 to replace the legacy GBU-24 Paveway III weapons systems.
Primary Function: Guided air-to-surface weapon.
Contractor: Boeing Corporation.
Unit Cost: Approximately $20,000.
Length: (JDAM and warhead) GBU-31 (v) 2/B: 152.7 inches (387.9 centimeters); GBU-31 (v) 4/B: 148.6 inches (377.4 centimeters); GBU-32 (v) 2/B: 119.5 inches (303.5 centimeters); GBU-38/B: 92.64 inches.
Wingspan: GBU-31: 25 inches (63.5 centimeters); GBU-32: 19.6 ins. (49.8 centimeters).
Weight: (JDAM and warhead) GBU-31 (v) 2/B: 2,036 pounds (925.4 kilograms); GBU-31 (v) 4/B: 2,115 pounds (961.4 kilograms); GBU-32 (v) 2/B: 1,013 pounds (460.5 kilograms); GBU-38/B: 590 pounds.
Ceiling: 45,000-plus feet (13,677 meters).
Range: Up to 15 miles (24 kilometers).
Guidance System: Global Positioning System (GPS)-aided Inertial Navigation System (INS).
Point of Contact
Naval Air Systems Command
PEO(U&W) PA Officer
47123 Buse Rd
Bldg. 2272, Suite 246
Patuxent River, Md 20670-1547