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Navy Drops First 500-Pound JDAM in Combat

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS041108-02
Release Date: 11/8/2004 8:39:00 AM

From Naval Air Systems Command Public Affairs

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 of Carrier Air Wing 17, currently embarked aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), dropped the Navy's first two 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) during combat operations in Iraq Oct. 29.

The successful strike was the culmination of a noteworthy effort by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Commander, Fleet Forces Command, and Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, to rapidly test, procure and deploy a new weapon system to satisfy an emergent operational requirement.

"The 500-pound JDAM is perfect for the urban warfare that's taking place now in Iraq," said JDAM program manager Capt. Dave Dunaway. "Precision, reliability, and accuracy is exactly what the warfighter was asking for, and we are pleased that we could respond quickly."

The Navy's newest weapon, the JDAM, also known as a GBU-38, provides the warfighter with greater flexibility and accuracy.

The GBU-38 completed its initial operational evaluation Sept. 28 from NAVAIR test ranges in southern California. The successful evaluation resulted in an early operational capability Oct. 8, eight months ahead of its scheduled initial operational capability, ultimately bringing this capability to the warfighter much sooner than expected.

"The use of this precise weapon opens up target sets that might not otherwise be available," said NAVAIR Test Pilot Marine Maj. Timothy Burton.

The JDAM guidance kit converts existing unguided bombs into precision-guided "smart" munitions.

VFA-34's weapons destroyed the target, where insurgents were known to be operating in Iraq.

The John F. Kennedy Carrier Strike Group deployed June 7 and consists of USS Spruance (DD 963), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Vicksburg (CG 69), USS Seattle (AOE 3), USS Toledo (SSN 769) and 70 planes from embarked Carrier Air Wing 17. The Kennedy Strike Group arrived in theater July 10 to support ground troops fighting anti-Iraqi insurgents and to support Multinational Corps - Iraq and Iraqi forces, who are working hard to bring stability to the sovereign government of Iraq.

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