Military orders Laser JDAM kits

May 3, 2011 at 1:50 PM
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ST. LOUIS, May 3 (UPI) -- Boeing will produce two types of Joint Direct Attack Munition kits for the U.S. military under contracts from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command.

The two contracts are worth a combined $100 million.

The company said the first contract, worth $8 million, represents the first major production order for Laser JDAM kits. The contract is for low-rate initial production of 700 laser sensor kits for the Navy's direct-attack moving target capability weapons requirement.

The U.S. Air Force announced a $92 million contract for more than 4,000 Lot 15 JDAM kits on March 14. This follows an $88 million contract awarded Jan. 14 for the first 3,500 tail kits in the same lot.

"JDAM has been the warfighter's weapon of choice for more than a decade," said Debbie Rub, vice president and general manager for Boeing's Missiles and Unmanned Airborne Systems division. "Boeing innovation has allowed us to consistently and affordably meet our customers' ever-evolving needs with unprecedented accuracy."

After the Laser JDAM was identified as an urgent operational need by warfighters in early 2007, Boeing completed the weapon's development and testing cycle in less than 17 months and the Navy's first Laser JDAMs were delivered in October 2008.

In March 2010, the Navy selected Laser JDAM to satisfy its direct attack moving target capability mission requirement.

The U.S. Air Force continues to use Laser JDAM in theater and it remains the highest-priority weapon sought by Air Forces Central Command.

On Feb. 23 -- 27 days after receipt of a contract -- Boeing delivered the first 189 of 550 Air Force low-rate initial production Laser JDAMs to warfighters in theater, in response to an urgent operational need for replenishment assets.

JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into near precision-guided weapons.

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