Navy F/A-18 combat jets getting laser-guided JDAM smart bombs to attack moving targets
PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 19 Sept. 2016. U.S. Navy aerial weapons experts are working with the Boeing Co. to outfit the F/A-18 Hornet jet fighter-bomber with upgrades that will enable the warplane to launch laser-guided 2,000-pound smart bombs.
Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $10 million order Tuesday to the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in St. Louis to prepare the F/A-18 jet for launching laser-guided versions of the 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).
The order calls for Boeing to design and test the DSU-42/B laser seeker together with the KMU-558-series guidance set, which moves the fins on the rear of the JDAM munition to guide the bomb to its target. The laser-guided JDAM is designed to attack moving targets like enemy surface warships.
Essentially this work will marry the GBU-56(V) 4/B laser-guided versions of GBU-32(V)/B 1,000-pound JDAM and GBU-31(V)/B 2,000-pound JDAM bombs to the F/A-18 aircraft and its weapon systems.
JDAM describes a family of smart munitions that blend unguided "dumb" bombs with an assembly consisting of laser seeker, wire harnesses, and movable fins to convert unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions.
The JDAM guidance kits, which are fitted to a variety of bombs, are designed to lock on to targets while still attached to the aircraft, and then glide the bomb to its target by moving the fins on the rear of the munition. The laser seeker homes-in a laser dot from an external laser designator.
The 2,000-pound JDAM is one of the largest precision-guided bombs in the U.S. weapons inventory, and provides considerable destructive power and blast radius.
On this order Boeing will do the work in St. Louis; Fort Worth, Texas; Simpsonville, S.C.; Minneapolis; and other locations in the U.S., and should be finished by February 2019.
For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at www.boeing.com/defense.
Learn more: search the Aerospace & Defense Buyer's Guide for companies, new products, press releases, and videos