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US winged smart bombs are already operational in Ukraine

US winged smart bombs are already operational in Ukraine

Written by Kyle Anzalone via The Libertarian Institute,

The Department of Defense confirmed this week that advanced bombs are operational in Ukraine. The Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER) can hit targets 50 miles away. The Pentagon’s confirmation comes after President Joe Biden ordered the Pentagon to transfer “precision aerial munitions” to Kiev in December.

On Monday, General James Hecker, head of US Air Forces Europe, told reporters that the JDAM-ER was operational in Ukraine. “Recently, we just got some precision ammunition [to Ukraine] which had an extended scope and it goes a bit further than the gravity bomb and has accuracy [guidance]” said Hecker.

The Extended Range Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM-ER) precision bomb. Image source: Boeing

This is a recent capability that we’ve been able to give them probably in the last three weeks,” General Hecker added.

JDAMs are primarily used to increase the accuracy of bombs. The official did not specify how many or which variation of JDAM would be sent. The JDAM-ER can be equipped with 2,000 or 500 pound pumps and will deliver the ammo up to 45 miles. JDAMs are compatible with some Western-made fighter jets and drones.

According to a description in The Drive:

Standard JDAM kits are designed to mate with various types of Mk 80 series dummy bombs and other munitions designed around the same form factor, transforming them into precision guided weapons. The complete JDAM kit consists of a new tail, which contains a GPS-assisted Inertial Navigation System (INS) guidance system and tracks that go elsewhere along the body of the bomb, giving it limited capability to slide towards your designated target.

Officially, Kiev does not have any aircraft capable of dropping precision munitions. Biden said he has ruled out sending American-made planes “for now.” However, the UK is training Ukrainian pilots with Western-made fighter jets.

Ukrainian pilots are in the US this week to determine how much training airmen will need to become proficient in US aircraft.

In addition, JDAMs have been tested on Quickstrike underwater mines. Quickstrike bombs are dropped by aircraft in shallow water and can sit on the seabed for some time before being activated. If Ukraine is using JDAM at the Quickstike mines, it remains unclear which aircraft Kiev is using in the operations.

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