Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) History

The JDAM program is a joint-service program with USAF as the lead, executive service and USN as the participating service. Naval Air Systems Command, Program Manager for Conventional Strike Weapons, PMA-201, is the developing activity for the Navy and Marine Corps.

JDAM was developed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing [McDonald Douglas]. In October 1995, the Air Force awarded a contract for EMD and for the first 4,635 JDAM kits at an average unit cost of $18,000, less than half the original $40,000 estimate. As of late 2002 the unit price for the JDAM kits was around $21,000.

The JDAM program was accelerated in 1995 to enable the US Air Force and Navy to begin buying JDAM kits in 1997, a year earlier than originally planned. Program acceleration was made possible, in part, because the JDAM program office switched the primary test platform from the B-1 to the B-52. Under the revised program, B-52 testing began in 1998.

As a result of JDAM's pilot program status, low-rate initial production was accelerated nine months, to the latter half of FY 1997. On April 30, 1997, the Air Force announced the decision to initiate low-rate initial production (LRIP) of JDAM, with the first production lot of 937 JDAM kits. The JDAM Integrated Product Team achieved a phenomenal 53 guided JDAM weapon releases in the six months prior to the LRIP decision. JDAM demonstrated high reliability and outstanding accuracy. Twenty-two of the weapon releases were accomplished during an early Air Force operational assessment. Over a four-week period operational crews put JDAM through an operationally representative evaluation, including targets shrouded by clouds and obscured by snow. All 22 weapons successfully performed up to their operational requirements including overall accuracy of 10.3 meters, significantly better than the 13 meter requirement.

The JDAM development effort included more than 250 flight tests involved five Air Force and Navy aircraft. JDAM will be carried on virtually all Air Force fighters and bombers, including the B-1, B-2, B-52, F-15E, F-16, F-22, F-117, and F/A-18.

Initial OT of the JDAM was conducted in 3 phases: Combined DT/OT-IIA, OT-IIB, (the independent phase of OPEVAL), and OT-IIB (Verification of Correction of Deficiencies (VCD)). The purpose of the combined DT/OT-IIA phase was to reduce the required number of assets for DT and OT testing and gather data for the independent phase (OT-IIB). Results based on combined DT/OT data were only used when accomplished or monitored by operational aircrews and maintenance personnel and at the discretion of the Operational Test Director. OT-IIB determined operational effectiveness and operational suitability of JDAM. Data from DT/OT-IIA was used in conjunction with OT-IIB to resolve JDAM COIs. OT-IIB (VCD) verified correction of deficiencies identified both prior and subsequent to the OPEVAL. This phase was conducted on the F/A-18C/D with the GBU-31( V)2/B in the entire JDAM operational envelope with no flight restrictions. FOT&E (OT-III) will verify the operational effectiveness and operational suitability of the production JDAM. DT/OT-IIA, OT-IIB, and OT-IIB (VCD) was conducted by VX-9 personnel under various environmental conditions. JDAM was operated and maintained by fleet representative personnel. DT/OT-IIA was completed in October 1998. OT-IIB was completed in August 1999. OT-IIB (VCD) was completed in August 2000. IOC was achieved in May 2001.

VX-9 personnel at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division (NAWCWD) China Lake conducted combined DT/OT-IIA between July 1998 and October 1998. Production representative weapons were released from operationally representative F/A-18C/D aircraft utilizing production representative OFP13C software. The purpose of DT/OT-IIA was to gather data to be used in OPEVAL to determine operational effectiveness and operational suitability of JDAM. DT/OT-IIA was accomplished in conjunction with DT with results being utilized toward satisfying both DT and OT test plans. Combined DT/OT-IIA results were utilized in OT-IIB OPEVAL to support the MS III decision and recommendation for fleet introduction, where applicable. DT/OT-IIA included captive carriage and release of 14 certified JDAM weapons (six GBU-31(V)2/B configured with JPF and eight GBU-31(V)4/B) against fleet representative targets from F/A-18C/D aircraft. USN and USMC operationally representative personnel operated and maintained JDAM

VX-9 personnel at NAWCWD China Lake and on board aircraft carriers conducted OT-IIB OPEVAL between November 1998 and August 1999. Production representative weapons were released from operationally representative F/A-18C/D aircraft utilizing production representative OFP 13C/C+ software. Thirty-two weapons were configured with the FMU-152/B JPF LRIP-II fuzes and four weapons with DSU-33. Eleven weapons were configured with FMU-139 fuzes and two weapons were configured with FMU-143 fuzes. The purpose of OT-IIB was to determine the operational effectiveness and operational suitability of JDAM. Results were provided to support the MS III decision. OT-IIB included employment of the JDAM against threat representative targets and emitters. OT-IIB included captive carriage and release of 58 JDAM weapons against operationally representative targets from F/A-18C/D aircraft. Approximately 100 total flights were completed, including Field Carrier Landing Practice, carrier suitability, and 200 dedicated captive carriage flight hours. Forty-five catapult and arrested landings were completed. Fleet representative personnel operated and maintained the JDAM.

JDAM was certified as operational capable on the B-2 in July 1997. Limited Initial Operational Capability was achieved on the B-52 in December 1998.

Early operational capability JDAMs were delivered to Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and low-rate, initial production JDAM deliveries begin on 02 May 1998. McDonnell Douglas Corporation of Berkeley, MO, was awarded on 02 April 1999, a $50,521,788 face value increase to a firm-fixed-price contract to provide for low rate initial production of 2,527 Joint Direct Attack Munition kits. The work was completed by January 2001.

The B-1B Lancer conventional mission upgrade program is configuring the B-1B to carry out its role as the primary Air Force long-range heavy bomber for conventional warfare. The 11 Feb 1998 drop from a B-1B was the 122nd guided JDAM launch. The depot at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center will install the modification kits in the initial block of bombers by January 1999, giving Air Combat Command seven JDAM-capable B-1B bombers 18 months ahead of the initial program schedule.

During Operation Allied Force, the JDAM, which was in low-rate production was employed at nearly the same rate that it was being manufactured. The B-2 was the only operational aircraft used to deliver JDAMs; the combination of its all-weather precision capability and the B-2's ability to penetrate lethal defenses put high-value fixed targets at risk. Several additional aircraft were pending JDAM operational status in conformance with the JDAM acquisition plan. To deliver JDAMs, the B-2s had to fly from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, requiring multiple air-refueling hook-ups per mission. Using rotary launchers in their internal weapons bays, each B-2 was able to carry and deliver up to 16 JDAMs. A selectable fuse on each JDAM was set before the munition was loaded, and allowed for a variety of time delays - before or after impact - for the weapon's explosion.

The Joint Direct Attack Munition saw its first operational employment during Operation Allied Force in early 1999. Approximately 650 JDAMs with approximately 1.4 million pounds of high explosive, employed first by the USAF B-2 bomber, were dropped with stunning accuracy during the campaign. Since the first Navy JDAM production rounds were not planned to be delivered until August and the initial operational capability not until September, its use by Naval Aviation was not originally envisioned. Joint Chiefs of Staff direction to rapidly accelerate the production schedule changed all that. The first deployable units flying appropriately configured Hornets were Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadrons (VMFA(AW)) 332 and 225. Both squadrons received intensive maintenance and aircrew training from the JDAM Program Office, Naval Aviation Maintenance Training Detachment, Test Squadron Pacific and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 9 personnel. With JDAM operational evaluation ongoing, VX-9 conducted an abbreviated operational test of the actual weapon/fuse configuration available for deployment. Sixteen JDAMs with 2,000-pound general-purpose warheads were dropped in two weeks to support the decision for an early operational capability. VMFA(AW)-332 was ordered to deploy in late May. Two weeks later, with the arrival of 46 JDAM tail kits and Chief of Naval Operations early operational capability authorization, Naval Aviation became JDAM capable, a sterling example of Navy-Marine Corps teamwork.

On 28 April 2000 McDonnell Douglas Corp., Berkeley, Mo., was awarded a $5,648,796 modification to a firm-fixed-price contract to provide for incorporation of Pin-Lock Tail Actuator System technology into the production effort for 8,163 Joint Direct Attack Munition kits. The Pin-Lock Tail Actuator System provides a more durable and accurate method of maneuvering the tail fins of the JDAM than the existing Friction Brake technology. Contract completion date was 31 March 2001.

By mid-December 2001 the first nine weeks of air strikes over Afghanistan had consumed about half the roughly 10,000 JDAM kits in inventory. During Operation Enduring Freedom about 10,000 of the 18,000 munitions expended were precision-guided, of which about half were GPS guided. In April 2001, the Pentagon had signed a $260 million contract with Boeing for one year's production of 12,204 JDAM kits. In October 2001, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper announced that more JDAM kits would be ordered. The FY2003 budget request released on February 4, 2002 included $1.1 billion for a higher rate of production for the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Laser Guided Bombs. In September 2002 Boeing won a $378 million order for 18,840 more JDAM kits.

As of early 2002 the Boeing production facility in St. Charles, MO, was working three shifts around the clock to increase JDAM inventories that were diminished during the Afghan war. Boeing ramped up deliveries, from 750 a month during winter 2001 to a production rate during 2002 of about 1,500-2,000 per month. At this rate, according to one report, as of February 2002 about six months would be required to produce enough JDAMs to support military operations against Iraq. Production expanded to 2,000 per month in October 2002. Monthly production in the US will reach 2,800 by August 2003 and is to increase to 5,000 monthly with the addition of a new assembly line.

As of late 2002 more than 30,000 had been built and more than 70,000 JDAM kits had been contracted for delivery through 2004. The program was originally slated to top out at 87,000 units, though the total may increase to around 250,000 for the US military.

As of late 2002 foreign sales included orders for 2,700 from Israel, 900 from Italy and export licenses for a total of 24 countries. An agreement with Europe's MBDA would allow that company to build kits for European and Middle Eastern markets. Some estimates suggest the total numbers for foreign markets will be in the 50,000-60,000-unit range.

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