These Kits Convert Gravity Bombs into Cruise Missiles

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Kratos Defense and Security Solutions and Boeing are collaborating on a new “bolt-on” kit that can turn a 228 kg “dumb” bomb into a precision cruise missile. The kit is called the Powered Joint Direct Attack Munition (PJDAM) and consists of a guidance system, GPS navigation, seeker sensors, and a tail-mounted steering system. The kit turns the munition it is attached to into a precision day/night, all-weather guided weapon that can land within 5 meters of its intended target.

According to Interesting Engineering, PJDAM’s predecessor (called JDAM) was first developed in the 1990s, and enabled standard-issue iron gravity bombs to be converted into precision weapons without modifying the bomb. As helpful as it was, it had a severely restricted range compared to guided missiles. An extended-range version was also developed and included folding wings that allowed the bomb to glide for over 72 km.

To address this need, Boeing worked on an improved “Power” JDAM that will extend the range to 1,300 km. The new JDAM includes a jet engine, fuel tanks, and support systems that turn the bomb into a small cruise missile and can be used as a stand-off weapon launched by 4th-generation fighters.

Kratos explained that “The cost savings is in part due to the low-cost turbine engine technology developed and enhanced by TDI over four decades. Powered JDAM will provide low-cost stand-off capability against land and maritime threats. Leveraging the JDAM family of weapons, it is designed to be produced at scale, exportable to any of the 35 JDAM partner nations, at a cost-point that enables affordable mass.”

Vice President of Boeing Bob Ciesla claims that Powered JDAM (PJDAM) is the next step in the modular evolution of the JDAM and JDAM Extended Range family of weapons systems. “Its ability to complement exquisite weapons system with low-cost stand-off capability will add new weapons capacity to the U.S. defense industrial base to support the current fight and deter future fights,” he added.