The latest testing centred on a revised pop-out wing kit that, when used in conjunction with the weapon’s precision guidance enhancements, increases the standard JDAM’s glide range from about 24km to more than 72km. The weapon is launched like a conventional JDAM, after which the stowed wing extends to provide the glide lift.
Boeing says the wing kit takes advantage of the conventional JDAM aircraft interface and small Diameter bomb glide technology, keeping integration, development and sustainment costs low while bringing customers the range increase needed to neutralise current and future threats.
The 227kg winged JDAM ER has been developed by Boeing and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. The weapons were dropped from RAAF F/A-18A/B Hornets from altitudes ranging from 40,000ft down to 10,000ft, and on each flight successfully deployed its wing kit and flew to a pre-determined aim point, impacting within metres of its target.
”The extended range wing kit will allow the Australian Defence Force to employ JDAM more flexibly and safely in the target area and also stands to bring significant benefits to local Australian industry,” the Defence Materiel Organisation’s RADM Tony Dalton said.
Boeing will produce and integrate JDAM ER wing kits with major sub-assemblies from Ferra Engineering for the RAAF under a contract awarded in 2011. Following morel flight and certification testing, production and initial deliveries of JDAM ER to the RAAF are planned for 2015.