Paris Air Show

Boeing guided bomb business is on the move

 - June 19, 2007, 5:40 AM

Boeing’s guided bomb business is moving forward with the conclusion of a successful test program, a new contract and a growing SDB II program. The test program concerned the Integrated GPS Antijam System (IGAS) for the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

IGAS uses digital signal processing to greatly reduce the effects of GPS jamming. Developmental flight testing was completed on May 29 at China Lake, California, with the fifth of a series of JDAM drops from a Boeing F/A-18. They were undertaken under various mission and GPS-jamming scenarios, and all five bombs acquired and maintained their GPS coordinates. IGAS development will be completed this year, with deliveries planned for 2008.

Boeing has also received a $28 million quick-reaction contract to provide 400 Laser JDAM kits to the U.S. Air Force, and 200 to the U.S. Navy. They will be fitted to GBU-38 500-pound JDAM weapons in the inventory to add a precision laser targeting option to the existing near-precision GPS guidance. The capability of the LJDAM was recently highlighted during a demonstration at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, when F-15Es and F-16s successfully released 12 bombs from 24,000 feet against high-speed moving targets.

For the next generation of precision-guided weapons, Boeing is competing against Lockheed Martin for the Small Diameter Bomb II program. SDB II is currently in a competitive risk-reduction phase, initiated in April 2006. After a rigorous selection process that evolved extensive software and hardware demonstrations, Boeing chose the Harris Corporation to provide the data link for its SDB II proposal. The two-way link allows the bomb to feed back mission data and to receive updated target information while it is in flight. SDB II is a planned evolution of the GBU-39 SDB I, which has been operational in Southwest Asia since October 2006. A sole-source system design and development award is expected by late 2009.