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Parts 1 and 2
Australian Aviation, December 2002 - January 2003 Updated August, 2008. by Dr Carlo Kopp
The JDAM will greatly expand the capabilities of theatre deep strike fighters such as the F-15E and F-111C, by providing near precision or precision strike capabilities through an overcast. Laser guided bombs such as the baseline GBU-10/12 and GBU-22/24 are unusable under conditions where the laser illumination is impaired, conditions which are of no consequence to a JDAM tracking L-band microwave emissions from low orbiting satellites. The use of platform referenced and wide area differential GPS techniques push the accuracy of the JDAM into the domain traditionally occupied by laser guided bombs. This Boeing F-15E is pickling off no less than five 2,000 lb GBU-31 JDAMs, each of which can autonomously fly to its preprogrammed target (Boeing).
The US Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) family of inertial/GPS guided bombs became a household word with the extensive use of these weapons during the Enduring Freedom air campaign in Afghanistan. This was not the first use of the JDAM, delivered by the B-2A during the Allied Force campaign in 1999, the JDAM is credited with providing a critical all weather strike capability during periods of dense cloud cover, when the primary laser guided weapons used by the NATO force proved ineffective. The JDAM has proven to be a highly effective weapon, offering new capabilities and very significant long term growth potential, but it is not without its critics. This two part feature will explore the current status of the JDAM and a number of related growth programs currently under way.
Inertial/GPS Guided Bombs
The origins of modern GPS guided bombs such as the JDAMs lie not in the domain of GPS satellite navigation, but in inertially guided bomb experiments performed during the 1980s. Until that period, the dominant guided bomb technology was the laser guided weapon, first introduced like television guided weapons during the Vietnam war period. That conflict saw a long running and sustained war of attrition conducted by the US Air Force and US Navy against North Vietnam. While average loss rates of US aircraft to Russian supplied AAA and SAMs were fairly low, the cumulative effect over a decade long war was telling. This produced significant pressure for precision weapons, and the early GBU-2 laser guided bombs and GBU-8 HOBOS television guided bombs evolved primarily to reduce the number of aircraft exposed to defensive fire. The GBU-8 and the GBU-2 had significant limitations but were nevertheless highly successful compared to dumb bombs. The guidance packages in these weapons were trivially simple by contemporary standards, reflecting the low density of period electronics. The cheaper and simpler laser guided weapons rapidly displaced the more complex television guided bombs, despite the higher accuracy of the latter. The standard low cost GBU-10/12/16 series Paveway II laser guided bomb kit is a case study in simplicity. The quadrant seeker is fitted under a thick lens, and embedded in an aerodynamically aligned seeker head. Electronics in the guidance package sense the angular error between the bomb's velocity vector and the laser spot, illuminated by an aircraft of ground based laser designator. The angular error is then used to control solenoid valves which vent gas from piston / cylinder actuator assemblies, pressurised by a burning gas cartridge. The canard controls are either fully deflected or neutral in position, providing the simplest possible bang bang or non-proportional guidance. The relatively dumb guidance technique in such weapons results in aggregate guidance errors of the order of several metres, generally irrelevant for a 2,000 lb bomb lethal radius. Laser guided weapons have some very important limitations. Perhaps the most important of these is their dependency upon continuous laser illumination of the target aimpoint. If the laser is shut down, or the target is obscured by rain, water vapour (cloud/fog), dust or smoke, the bomb seeker is blind and the weapon is apt to follow a ballistic trajectory like a very ordinary dumb bomb.
Loss of aircraft and aircrew became politically unacceptable. Therefore fighters and bombers delivering these weapons would typically attack from short distances. well below cloud cover in most situations.This limitation was less important in the latter portion of the Cold War since low altitude delivery was considered an acceptable risk in a central European battle with the Soviets. highly reproducable weapon which was jam proof and wholly oblivious to ambient weather conditions. . since the cost of inertial units with the required accuracy proved to be prohibitive. Such a weapon would be initialised over a digital umbilical with target and aircraft coordinates before release. or loss of illumination. The latter accounted for the largest number of coalition aircraft losses in the 1991 Desert Storm campaign. Adverse weather conditions and embarrassing collateral damage incidents in Desert Storm created the impetus for a production all weather inertial/GPS guided bomb kit. and bombing campaigns were mostly prosecuted from medium altitudes. the weapon could not be jammed. Medium altitude delivery presented serious issues for laser guided bombs. digitally programmable. Loss of the sightline to the target would cause the weapon to go ballistic and frequently impact hundreds of metres from the intended aimpoint. Whether the guidance signal was lost through hardware failure. The perfect yet unaffordable guided bomb. Another issue was the robustness of a simple non-redundant laser guidance system. The weapon's trajectory could be optimised for range. the weapon was almost guaranteed to go astray. The perfect precision guided bomb? No inertially guided bomb ever entered production. Inertially guided bomb technology was the subject of intense US Air Force interest during the 1980s. well above the reach of AAA and shoulder fired SAMs. An inertially guided bomb presented the prospect of a robust. In urban areas this would result in serious collateral damage. Microprocessor and Kalman filter technology permitted these weapons to use very refined guidance and autopilot algorithms. impact velocity or impact angle. Since the inertial system was self contained. With the end of the Cold War tactics shifted. and then it would autonomously fly to impact using flightpath position and velocity information produced by its onboard Inertial Measurement Unit. and politically damaging loss of civilian lives.
The brain of the JDAM is in its Guidance and Control Unit (GCU). are then used to feed a flight control algorithm. This information. velocities and accelerations in all three axes. The Joint Direct Attack Munition The JDAM was the result of a hotly contested flyoff between McDonnellDouglas (Boeing) and Martin-Marietta (Lockheed-Martin). ignoring all others. it included a list of which GPS satellites it was tracking. When the B-2 programmed its GAMs before release. The first GPS aided inertially guided bomb to be built and deployed was the US Air Force's Northrop GBU-36/B GAM84 (GPS Aided Munition) 2. The heart of the JDAM is a Honeywell HG1700 Ring Laser Gyro (RLG) inertial unit. it also proved an important refinement for improving the accuracy of such weapons. and thus would see identical GPS position errors to the bomber. deployed on the B-2A as a gapfiller prior to production of the then embryonic JDAM. The Kalman filter continuously computes a best estimate of the bomb's position in space. A GPS aided bomb without differential techniques would have a circular error probable of the order of 7 to 12 metres. This refinement was the use of platform referenced differential GPS. Boeing won what is likely to prove in time to be one of the most lucrative contracts for decades. an inertial bomb with GPS could achieve equal or better accuracy at very low cost. The bomb would track only these satellites. The baseline JDAM was to be an accurate rather than precision weapon.000 lb weapon. making it directly competitive against the established precision GBU10 Paveway II. engineered for early deployment rather than minimal mass production cost. with a planned CEP without enhancements of 12 to 13 metres. it did prove the concept convincingly. bidding the GBU-31/32 and GBU-29/30 respectively. By using a GPS receiver to bound the cumulative error produced by the inertial unit. or GATS (GPS Aided Targeting System). which measures position. More over. using differential techniques the B-2A/GAM combo repeatedly demonstrated 6 metres or less. compared to a purely inertially guided bomb. and the preprogrammed target GPS coordinates. which accepts position measurements from the GCU's HG1700 and a Rockwell GEM-III low cost military GPS receiver. The initial plan was to enhance this basic weapon with future seeker technology to provide genuine precision capability.The great enabler for inertially guided bombs was the US Air Force Navstar GPS satellite navigation system. corresponding to the systemic GPS P-code error and some guidance loop error. HR Textron actuators are . which contains an embedded microprocessor running a Kalman filter. While the GAM was a relatively expensive weapon at cca USD 40k / round.
Prior to release the aircraft's position and velocities are downloaded. The JDAM executes an internal self test. dependent upon how late in the flight the signal was lost. and also depending on the tolerance errors in the HG1700 (some units may be slightly more accurate than others). incorporating the Mil-Std-1553B digital multiplex bus. Before launch the JDAM's embedded software communicates with the launch aircraft's stores management processor. selected by the user for a specific type of target. . Prior to release the JDAM is powered up using an umbilical feed from the launch aircraft.used to drive three of the four tail surfaces. lost or jammed. using pre-programmed parameters. and thus manoeuvrability. Should the GPS signal be impaired. penetrating cloud with no loss in accuracy. the launch aircraft can download into the bomb the target GPS coordinates. fuse settings and impact parameters. the JDAM achieves close to twice the glide range under similar launch conditions. This information is used to initialise the GEM-III receiver. and the weapon autonomously flies itself to impact. A weapon intended for the basement of a tall building could be programmed to enter at ground floor level. Once the inertial unit is aligned and the GPS receiver initialised. After the weapon is released. The flight control algorithm can be configured before launch for vertical or horizontal (ie shallow dive) terminal trajectories. the weapon can rely on its inertial unit and will suffer some modest loss in accuracy. which can manage the weapon's kinetic energy and maximise glide range. Compared to the primitive analogue guidance in a baseline Paveway II. intended to increase body lift and also reduce the weapon's stability to improve its pitch and yaw rates. Power is provided by a thermal battery in the JDAM tailkit. Once the JDAM is ready. no differently than a computer peripheral. all of which can be reloaded at any time before release. the GPS receiver acquires a satellite constellation. The use of Kalman filter technology allows for refined midcourse flight algorithms. it communicates status information to the launch aircraft. wheres a weapon intended to enter a bunker shaft could be programmed for a vertical trajectory. GPS Ephemeris (constellation) and the GPS PPS crypto key. which then downloads GPS timing. the thermal battery is initiated. warms up and aligns the HG1700 inertial unit. GPS Almanac (ie nav message). Most JDAM variants employ a set of strap on aerodynamic strakes. The JDAM employs the US standard Mil-Std-1760 umbilical interface.
83). in a single large drop. many targets. BLU-109/B and BLU-110/B tailcone. but can also fly off axis trajectories. the principal prerequisite being that the launch aircraft is equipped with a Mil-Std-1760 digital weapon station interface. with the GBU-38 (Mk. to engage targets to either side of the flight path. software changes are the only modification to the launch vehicle. The GBU-31 has been most widely used.in these roles low collateral damage is more important than lethal blast effect. It is expected that the GBU-38 will become a preferred weapon for battlefield interdiction. With this capability. Directly . At this time production of the JDAM encompasses the GBU-31 (Mk. The latter are dependent upon laser illumination. A heavy bomber carrying dozens of JDAMs can obliterate dozens of targets within a given footprint.84. A supersonic high altitude drop (F/A-22A) almost doubles range performance due to the much higher initial energy of the bomb. The catchcry for the laser guided bomb was one aircraft.in the JDAM era this becomes one aircraft. Clearance testing is required since the JDAM is aerodynamically different to the Mk-84/83/82 series slick bombs. Mk.The autonomous capability in the JDAM is without precedent and a key advantage of this weapon against laser guided bombs. GBU-32 (Mk.84/BLU109). many JDAMs. The US Navy has used the GBU32 and GBU-35 widely during the Afghan campaign. in practical terms this permits strikes only on clusters of targets and depends critically on operator proficiency. The JDAM has no such limitation. GBU-35 (BLU-110) models. Mk. each independently targeted.3. with some loss in range. battlefield interdiction and close air support roles (Afghanistan). While a good operator can pickle off bombs several seconds apart for a level medium altitude strike. The JDAM GCU module was sized from the outset to fit the internal volume of a Mk.82. at speeds up to Mach 1. one bomb. as each bomb can be independently preprogrammed before release.83. The weapon can be released from altitudes as high as 50 kft. and move the laser spot from aimpoint to aimpoint during an attack. as a result of which the aircraft can engage only one target at a time.82) in development with a planned 2004 IOC. primarily as a replacement for the GBU-10 in strategic strike (Serbia/Afghanistan). with medium altitude drops yielding standoff ranges of several nautical miles. with the sole limitation that the targets must be within the kinematic footprint of the weapon. an aircraft can pickle off multiple JDAMs almost simultaneously. Integration of the JDAM is relatively simple. The JDAM can fly a boresight trajectory similar to a ballistic drop. close air support and especially urban combat . Therefore. one target .
One candidate is the use of platform referenced differential GPS. the bomb being often described as much less accurate than the widely used GBU-10/12 Paveway II weapons. without additional seekers installed.interchangable with the Mk. The baseline accuracy of the weapon cited in mid 1990s glossy brochures is a very pessimistic number. or medium to low altitude strikes using laser guided bombs. Inclement weather offered cover to a clever opponent. which arises as a result of the relative positions of satellites in the constellation a reciever can see at a given point in time and space. Where and when an unusually favourable constellation is seen. the GDOP error can be very low. based on worst case GPS accuracy for the period. The principal errors in bomb . the weapon has proven to be a robust replacement for the Paveway II. B-2A. the GDOP error increases or decreases. JDAM Accuracy and Jam Resistance The accuracy of the JDAM is frequently criticised. to achieve defacto precision accuracy. These force the bomb to acquire only a programmed constellation of satellites. F-111C and F-15E with formidable firepower. the US Air Force has generated predictions of GPS accuracy variations over a 24 hour cycle for targets of interest. which is relatively undemanding to implement since it involves only software changes to the aircraft and bomb embedded code (OFP). and GPS receiver operating code. The practice followed by the US Air Force since 1999 is to plan non-time critical strikes to fall into time periods of minimal GDOP for the target of interest. To date the JDAM has been used only in its basic configuration. B-1B. This argument is lame and not representative of more recent developments in technique and technology. The capability of the JDAM to punch through a solid cloudbase has revolutionised close air support and battlefield work. The US Air Force planned in the late 1990s a series of Product Improvement Program (PIP) incremental block upgrades to the JDAM guidance package. The JDAM has closed this strategic loophole forever. These computer models analyse an effect termed Geometrical Dilution Of Precision (GDOP). since historically such combat required either very low level strikes using dumb bombs. and GPS errors resulting can be a fraction of the textbook figure. the GBU-38 will provide aircraft like the B-52H. or areas of interest. Even with this limitation. but no details have been disclosed more recently as to which have been implemented to date. Since the 1999 Allied Force campaign. As the orbital positions of the satellites in time.82 slick.
Experience from Afghanistan suggests that the most frequent cause of JDAMs going astray were either bent fins resulting from mishandling. its vulnerability to jamming is very frequently overstated by its critics. The system continously computes a set of correction parameters for use in an enhanced Kalman filter. which runs a complex computer model incorporating parameters such as solid earth tide (bulge) and wet / dry tropospheric delay. Human errors in entering aimpoint coordinates on keypads. these are encrypted and broadcast via a radio link (EDGE) or unused encrypted GPS Almanac page (WAGE).delivery are then dominated by the accuracy of the synthetic aperture radar or thermal imager/laser rangefinder used to produce target coordinates. or more frequently the fat finger factor to use the colourful americanism. This is easier said than done. pioneered in the US Air Force EDGE and WAGE trials. Regardless of these. since the GPS antenna on the JDAM is mounted on the tail. without the cost penalty of a seeker package. 100% of the time. successful jamming of a GPS guided bomb is not as simple as JDAM critics like to suggest. or indeed any GPS aided weapon. For a jamming effort to work properly. or even earlier. entry of other than the intended coordinates. The compensated GPS errors achieved using this technique are as low as several inches in all three axes. To date there is no published evidence of successful use of jamming to defeat a JDAM. with the GDOP error dominating the GPS error under most circumstances. which continuously measure the error in the recieved GPS signal against the precisely surveyed location. Data from these ground stations is fed over low data rate landlines or satellite links to a central ground station. Experience with the B-2A suggest this technique results in 6 metre or better CEPs. and therefore if the jammer is colocated with the target. and in one instance possibly a ground forward air controller mistakenly transmitting over the radio his own coordinates rather than those of the enemy! Like the alleged inaccuracy of the JDAM. Another more potent candidate is the use of Wide Area Differential GPS (WADGPS) techniques. This family of techniques involves the deployment of a network of precisely calibrated GPS receiver ground stations surrounding the theatre of operations. and the guidance loop error in the bomb. preferably from the very instant the bomb is released. the jamming signal must be coupled into the mainlobe of the bomb's antenna. the antenna mainlobe is always pointing . The baseline GEM-III receiver has built in provisions to resist GPS jamming. An aircraft and JDAM configured to use WADGPS techniques can achieve true precision accuracy.
the cumulative inertial system error seen since the last valid GPS measurement could be very small indeed. For instance a hardware failure in a GPS receiver or inertial unit could be handled by rejecting its output and flying to impact on the remaining source of position and velocity data. . these are generally of less significance than the enormous gains in capability and firepower offered by this weapon. At unit costs under USD 20M. In summary. Boeing have not disclosed whether this technique is used. Even should GPS jamming increase in popularity (US reports suggest more recent AGM-88 HARM versions will have provisions for homing on GPS jammers).away from the jammer. and are easily suppressed with coatings. Creeping waves tend to be weak in magnitude. odds are that gaps in jamming will occur and the bomb guidance can use these to grab valid GPS measurements. Whatever limitations the JDAM might have. Should the GPS position read from the receiver suddenly change by a large amount. or until the GPS signal behaves as it ought to. The only jamming signal which can couple in is what little attaches to the skin of the bomb and tailkit as a creeping wave. With a flight time of mere minutes or tens of seconds. Unless the jammer is unusually effective. the installation of improved GPS antennas and receivers would defeat most techniques. most of the criticisms directed at the JDAM (and very popular in some Canberra circles) are very lame and assume a very clever technological peer competitor opponent. the JDAM is one of the best bang for buck choices in the market today. It is worth noting that a JDAM is potentially more robust than an analogue laser guided bomb in the event of a guidance component failure. the software can simply reject the GPS measurement and continue to fly the bomb using inertial data until impact. Neither represent unusual integration challenges for a modular design such as the JDAM. One issue JDAM critics seem to universally overlook is the reality that it takes very little effort in any inertial/GPS system to incorporate code which monitors the difference between the GPS and inertially predicted bomb positions.
GEM-III GPS receiver and computer package is installed inside the bomb tailkit. and has been adapted to the tungsten tipped bunker busting BLU-109/B and BLU-110/B warheads (Boeing). Without doubt the most important near term application of the JDAM has been its use as a near precision conventional weapon for US Air Force heavy bombers.83 and Mk. The Guidance and Control Unit containing a HG1700 RLG.000 lb GBU-31 fitted to the Mk.JDAM Cutaway. previously limited to dumb bombs.84 or BLU-109/B warheads was the first to see widescale combat use. In 2001.82 low drag bombs. Mk. The 2. the decisive blows to the combined Taliban/Al Qaeda ground forces in Afghanistan were inflicted by B-52H and B-1B bombers delivering GBU-31s against a wide range of battlefield targets (Boeing/USAF). The JDAM is a GPS aided inertially guided bomb.84. . The GCU was designed from the outset for tailkit volumes compatible with the Mk. The JDAM was blooded in 1999 when the B-2A bombed Belgrade with the weapon.
but using smart Mil-Std-1760 racks with MilStd-1553B bussing to the bomb umbilical connectors.83.The US Navy's primary JDAM variants are the GBU-32 and GBU-35. The baseline JDAM can be retargeted up to the point where it is released (Boeing). The Boeing F/A18C/D/E/F will be the primary near term delivery platform for naval JDAMs. Loadouts are likely to be identical to the existing Mk. .83 and BLU-110/B warheads standard for this service.000 lb Mk. designed for the 1.
and will in time supplant the established laser guided bomb as the most widely used low cost guided munition. Providing aircraft with the ability to attack multiple aimpoints in a single pass. This weapon is easily identified by the absence of the large cruciform strakes used on the 2. Part 2 The Joint Direct Attack Munition family of GPS aided inertially guided bombs represents perhaps the most important single development in bombing technique over the last two decades. offers a dramatic increase in deliverable precision firepower on a single pass. JDAM provides a force multiplying effect unseen in scale since the laser guided bomb displaced the dumb bomb during the latter part of the Vietnam conflict.000 lb variants. growth derivatives of the JDAM will be explored. with small nose mounted vanes substituted. A B-52H carrying 48 rounds. It is not unreasonable to argue that this weapon will revolutionise bombing technique (Boeing). The 500 lb JDAM will become a mainstay of close air support.The smallest member of the JDAM family is the new GBU-38 500 lb weapon.000 lb and 1. or an F-111C carrying 24 rounds. as it offers good lethality against soft targets yet a much smaller collateral damage footprint than its larger siblings. .82 warhead. each independently targeted. designed for the Mk. airfield attack and urban bombardment roles. In this month's final part. battlefield interdiction.
. Both techniques have growth potential for attacks on moving targets such as vehicles or shipping (Author/USAF). The basic idea was to provide an accurate basic weapon. A typical design for such a seeker will see the JDAM seeker take a snapshot of the target surroundings. MilliMetric Wave Imaging techniques were demonstrated in the Orca program. JDAM Precision Seekers From the very outset of the JDAM program. the target aimpoint is corrected and the bomb dives into the target. the intention of the US Air Force was to equip the basic weapon with a range of precision terminal homing seekers.Imaging seekers are one technique which will provide the JDAM with genuine precision capability. Once the error is found. with the terminal seeker providing the remaining precision capability. which is then compared with a preprogrammed image to fix the bomb's position. while DAMASK demonstrated an IIR seeker.
with an inertial capability. the weapon is also in many respects fragile since the seeker's simplicity denies redundancy to protect against hardware failures. The GBU-8 HOBOS. the JDAM Guidance Control Unit (GCU) was designed with additional growth capacity in empty slots for more cards. To date no precision seekers have been deployed operationally.the airframe components were unusable for other purposes and this drove up the unit cost. By dividing the system into discrete modules. Television guided bombs have also proven expensive. where the mass produced baseline hardware is kept unchanged. Operational use of . proved to be amongst the most expensive guided bomb kits ever mass produced. The key difficulty with the GBU-15 series was its uniqueness . as used in the later GBU-22/24 Paveway III bombs drives up the cost. which evolved into the cruciform wing GBU-15 family of weapons. or at least not announced in the public domain. uniform and mature mass production builds. In part this is because the basic JDAM has proven generally more accurate than originally expected. specific software could be written for seeker equipped variants and loaded into the standard low cost mass production GCU. but also with unused spare interfaces to permit additional hardware to be integrated with minimal effort. Therefore nearly all of the investment in developing and producing the precision weapon is concentrated into the seeker alone. and robust radio datalinks. The advent of the JDAM as a platform for range of precision seekers or guidance packages changes the basic economic equation. A unique seeker would then be plugged into the unused GCU interfaces via an umbilical routed from the nose of the bomb. resulted in a cost structure which effectively compromised these capable weapons in large scale use. While a well guided GBU-10/12 Paveway II laser guided bomb can be very accurate. and is cheap due to its primitive seeker design. and the guidance technique is vulnerable to the loss of laser illumination. Cost has traditionally been the greatest impediment to the large scale use of precision munitions. In this fashion. it is possible to achieve the large economies of scale which are characteristic of very large. Opting for more sophisticated proportional navigation style laser semiactive homing.To that effect. The requirement to provide a stabilised platform for the bomb's seeker. The unique portion of the precision weapons kit is the seeker hardware/software alone. This highly flexible model was devised to accommodate as many different options in seeker technology as the user might ever want. with the remainder of the weapon being essentially standard low cost mass production hardware.
which have been since upgraded to EGBU-15 configuration by the additional of a GPS receiver and IMU to provide JDAM-like midcourse guidance. The US Air Force retains residual stocks of the GBU-15. Clearly there is considerable potential in radar seeker technology for the JDAM. deployment of improved later generation GPS satellite vehicles have clearly driven accuracy close to the GBU-10 class. No details have been released on Orca to date. and with the eventual use of wide area differential GPS (eg WAGE) and B-2 derived platform referenced differential GPS. and the technology is central to the latest variants of the Hellfire missile carried by the AH-64D Longbow Apache. it could also be used for precision strikes on fixed targets. On the contrary. . The Israelis have a range of weapons. Why add US$10k to 20k to the cost of each bomb if you can get 80% of its accuracy via cheaper techniques? However. Given the potential of the technology. MMW seekers have been used for instance on radar guided anti-tank mortar rounds. there will be little pressure for precision seekers. The classified Raytheon/Sandia Hammerhead program demonstrated the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) active seeker for the JDAM. but stocks and configurations remain largely undisclosed. it is reasonable to speculate that the design uses a scene matching area correlation technique to fit a SAR map against a preprogrammed target area map. to demonstrate a millimetric wave (MMW) radar seeker with a 3 metre or better CEP. with a 3 m CEP. many situtations will demand seekers. JDAM Electro-Optical Seekers At this time there are very few electro-optically (EO) guided bombs in operational service. this does not by any measure mean that seekers are dead. an MMW seeker could be used for attacking moving targets like shipping or armour.techniques such as strike planning in optimal GDOP windows. At that time the US Air Force also sponsored the classified Orca program. Moving targets in a jamming environment will almost certainly require seeker technology to retain precision accuracy if the GPS channel is lost. While details have not been released as yet. and using scene matching area correlation techniques in the manner of the Pershing II IRBM. and many possibilities exist. JDAM Radar Seekers The US Air Force ran two technology demonstrations during the late 1990s.
especially on US aircraft. an EO seeker equipped JDAM can fly under the cloudbase to acquire its target. Of particular interest is the QWIP technology since it permits high resolution imaging chips operating in the MWIR (midwave or 4-5 micron band) and LWIR (longwave or 8-12 micron band). Mercury Cadmium Telluride. To achieve a respectable acquisition range of several miles. is potentially valuable to the JDAM family of weapons. In daylight imaging. If the weapon was to be remotely guided from a cockpit. be it autonomous or datalink aided. Not surprisingly. it is compact and extremely precise. Electro-Optical guidance. While it cannot penetrate cloud. The result was an expensive to produce gimballed optical package with the additional encumbrance of cryogenic cooling if infrared day/night capability was needed. but also much cheaper. While autonomous target recognition techniques have matured in recent years. and datalinks to combat aircraft. provide a source of good quality infrared imagery which can be downloaded to a seeker equipped JDAM before release. the seeker optics must be stabilised down to tens of microradians or better jitter performance. Widely available EO targeting pods. With the weather immune GPS/IMU guidance. Much has changed since in basic technology. bolometric uncooled and cryogenically cooled Indium Antimonide. Platinum Silicide and Aluminium Gallium Arsenide Quantum Well Imaging Photodetector (QWIP) focal plane or staring arrays are now available. popular in top tier US limousines. No less important is the uncooled bolometric thermal imaging technology. the leading wave of QWIP imagers is in the high volume commercial medical/industrial markets rather than low volume military market. there are few obstacles to target imagery being tranmsitted in seconds from a source to a bomber. and through the Mil-Std-1760 umbilical. but also allows a single imaging chip of the proper architecture to concurrently image in both the MWIR and LWIR bands effectively two band specific thermal imagers in one slab of Aluminium Gallium Arsenide semiconductor producing two video signals at the same time. . Typically multiple fields of view are required. to a seeker equipped JDAM before release. high resolution CCDs and CMOS imagers are now much cheaper and immeasurably better than the vidicon tubes of the 1970s. one to two decades ago they were both expensive and unreliable. and not requiring the dollar hit of a refrigeration package. In infrared imaging. It's principal market lies in automotive thermal imagers.A key obstacle to the use of autonomous and datalink supported EO guidance techniques has been cost. which is much less sensitive than cooled semiconductor imaging chips. then the weapon would also require an expensive jam resistant wideband video datalink to carry the seeker image to the launch aircraft. With satellite and UAV generated high resolution imagery.
The first EO seeker demonstrated on a JDAM was the DAMASK (Direct Attack Munitions Affordable Seeker). and pattern match the image against a stored image of the target area to refine its position estimate. The aim of the DAMASK project was to demonstrate a very cheap yet highly accurate low cost EO seeker. with no moving parts. and trials drops as good as 2 ft from the intended aimpoint. The result is accuracy of the order of several feet. . The DAMASK program demonstrated the viability of an uncooled autonomous thermal imaging seeker on the baseline GBU-31 JDAM. The DAMASK would take a snapshot of the target scene. sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) under a USD 15M contract. The HART program will see this technology incorporated into a production weapon (US Navy).
and installed in the unused tailkit volume. Once the JDAM's position is updated from the target scene. When the bomb is released is flies over the target and then noses over to point down at a very steep angle. to achieve exceptionally low unit costs. The DAMASK employs scene matching techniques well proven in systems such as the Tomahawk. In this terminal flight phase it images the area surrounding the target. produced by satellite. The US Navy estimated the unit cost of a DAMASK kit at US$12. the weapon continues on inertial/GPS guidance to impact. The DAMASK demonstration presented some interesting problems. the launch aircraft downloads an image of the target. for a 2. the weapon will correct its donwward trajectory. and then performs the correlation operation to determine the bomb's actual position against its intended position. A commercial signal processing module was adapted to support the seeker. pulling multiple Gs if required as it is travelling down very quickly at several thousand feet of altitude at this point. Before the bomb is released.7k in mass production. The low cost seeker was designed around an uncooled imaging-infrared focal plane array (UIIFPA) device.The DAMASK design was innovative in many respects. using low cost optics and a molded composite casing. Once the trajectory adjustment is completed. The issue of . the aircraft's SAR or FLIR. The system was to calculate weapon alignment to 100 microradians accuracy. The imaging array is based on the same technology used in the Cadillac Seville 2000 head up FLIR.6 metre error at impact.
or indeed it becomes available to export clients. The formal FBO statement for the program specifies Boeing as the sole source. with trial weapon drops including simulations of GPS jamming by disabling the bomb's GPS receiver. remains to be seen. HART is aimed at providing a production EO seeker for the JDAM. Image processing speed also presented challenges. since the time window for processing the acquired image was very short. The first drop saw the weapon impact within 2 ft of the intended aimpoint. .seeker alignment was demanding. Whether the US Air Force adopt the HART seeker. The DAMASK program was essentially a technology demonstration to prove that the concept of a simple EO seeker worked effectively. The nature of the design lends itself to integration on any FLIR/EO pod equipped Mil-Std-1760 capable aircraft. which incorporates the capability to download the image from the aircraft's FLIR/EO targeting pod (AAS-38 or ASQ-228 ATFLIR/Terminator) providing the ability to precisely target pop-up and relocatable targets. Image roll alignment proved to be an issue. especially since the minute flexure in the bomb body was enough to introduce potentially problematic errors. as did motion induced image blurring and image distortion resulting from lens behaviour. HART will run until 2007. The current US Navy HART (Hornet Autonomous Real-Time Targeting for F/A18C/D/E/F) program builds on the DAMASK effort. DAMASK proved to be a resounding success. Whether the HART seeker package will incorporate the Autonomous Target Recognition (ATR) algorithms devised by Boeing for the AGM-84E SLAM family of missiles is unclear from published materials. which both the RAAF's F-111C Block C-4/5 and F/A-18A HUG will become in the timelines of interest.
The Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement (AMSTE) technology demonstration program is a complex effort which is intended to develop and prove techniques for the engagement of moving ground targets. The target was tracked by two separate airborne GMTI radars. The weapon is reported to have impacted within the lethal radius of the target (Author). . the original intent being to fit precision seekers for attacking moving targets. Perhaps the most dramatic outcome of the AMSTE effort was the August 22.The DARPA AMSTE program recently demonstrated a successful strike against a moving target using a JTIDS datalink aided JDAM. More recent developments in the US suggest that a radical change may be afoot in this area. using cheap munitions and standoff radar targeting techniques. providing a continuous stream of target coordinates which were fused and then tranmitted over a JTIDS channel to the JDAM in flight. target position refinement using information from multiple radars on multiple aircraft. Datalink Guided JDAMs The limitation of the baseline JDAM guidance package is that it was designed to engage fixed targets. In particular. AMSTE is exploring Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) radar techniques. and the use of datalinks to guided weapons.
using target coordinates produced by a distant E-8 JSTARS and a second radar on an airborne testbed. Handling the target coordinates at the bomb end is perhaps the most challenging aspect of such systems. When the AMSTE derived technique does eventually become operational. The AMSTE demonstration is important since it proves the feasibility of continuosly datalinking a moving target's position to a JDAM in flight. Once the targeting sensor is measuring the location of the target vehicle.2002 demonstration. Once released. very few support the more accurate multi segment Differential Phase Centre Antenna (DPCA) techniques. and feed designs. as these require specific adaptations to the radar antenna design. While many radars support GMTI techniques. Whilst it may not match the accuracy of seeker equipped JDAMs. be it a fighter with a larger radar. The AMSTE program works around this limitation by fusing GMTI tracks from multiple airborne radars. in which a JDAM modified with a JTIDS datalink receiver successfully engaged a moving vehicle in a column. . an ISR platform or a UAV. the target was part of a vehicular column travelling at 30 km/h. it will permit the concurrent engagement of multiple ground vehicles in all weather day/night conditions. the range and bearing accuracy of GMTI radars usually does not match that achieved in SARs. A prediction of the target's position based on this data is then used to adjust the bomb's aimpoint. to yield a best estimate of target position. The target bearing error can be modest. it takes little effort to pump this information out on a datalink radio channel to a bomb in flight. it makes up for that limitation in much lower weapon costs. The inert JDAM was dropped by an F-16C at 20. the quality of the prediction algorithms is critical to success. since these are added to the JDAM's guidance error. the JDAM acquired the JTIDS signal and continuously updated its aimpoint position as it flew toward the target. and triangulation of the target using bearings from two or more radars separated by several miles evidently makes the difference. As a result. or it could be produced by a FLIR/EO/laser targeting system on a fighter or an endurance UAV such as a Predator or a Global Hawk. The position information could be produced a GMTI radar on a distant aircraft. The guidance software will have to incorporate a Kalman filter which estimates the position of the target vehicle based upon a track history of continuously transmitted coordinates. Since the JDAM is flying blind toward its target. but it is likely that a whole JTIDS net was reserved for this purpose. Another important aspect of seekerless JDAM engagement of moving targets is the accuracy of the transmitted coordinates. DARPA have not disclosed the frequency of updates.000 ft.
The HdH JDAM-ER is being designed for very low mass production unit cost.  (HdH). such as a device derived from an anti-armour submunition. which sacrifices a little range performance but is significantly easier to manufacture.Combining a datalink midcourse system with a cheap autonomous short range seeker. of course yields the best of both worlds. The most evident is the revival of the DSTO GTV untapered wing planform. The baseline GBU-31/32/35/38 tailkit is used. . What is clearly evident is that the sanctuary of motion will not last long for evaders of the JDAM. with software alterations to support the changed aerodynamics and wing deployment functions (HdH). which is reflected in a number of design features. Additional HdH JDAM-ER line drawings here . .
the idea of fusing the AGW wing kit with the JDAM tailkit was explored as a joint effort between AWADI and Boeing. the latter using a JDAM-like GPS/inertially guided tailkit. it appeared. A lack of funding saw both efforts confined largely to paper studies. . the former using a BAe ALARM anti-radiation seeker. Thus. The first attempts to convert the GTV/Kerkanya concept into viable production weapons never got off the ground. AWADI also pursued the idea of a production GTV/Kerkanya derivative. HdH have received great support from DSTO. Australia is in a unique position insofar as the DSTO GTV/Kerkanya demonstration put it in the forefront of glide bomb kit research . in both senses of the phrase. HdH licenced the DSTO intellectual property in the GTV/Kerkanya and acquired all archived DSTO design data. During the 1990s Hawker de Havilland pursued the Icarus I and II concepts. With the entry of the JDAM into full scale production.Australia's Winged JDAM-ER The notion of a GPS aided inertially guided glide bomb is nothing new. RAAF Capability Development. the DoD CTD program office and DMO. The AWADI effort collapsed after the company was acquired by BAeA. the effort to revive the GTV/Kerkanya as a production effort was doomed to failure. but fielding one has proven to be a time consuming task.until recently this innovative DSTO effort sat in limbo. reports. but aimed from the outset at a GPS/inertially guided tailkit solution under the Agile Gliding Weapon (AGW) designation. Last year Hawker de Havilland (now Boeing owned) at Fisherman's Bend were awarded RAAF funding to pursue a Concept Technology Demonstration of a GTV/Kerkanya derived wing kit for the GBU-38 500 lb JDAM. and remaining demonstrator hardware components to support this effort.
best possible performance. or a different wing sweep angle. The HdH design uses an untapered wing planform like the GTV demonstrator. The latter will be critical to user acceptance of the kit. ease of maintenance and especially shortest possible assembly time in the field. and re-evaluating nearly all basic design assumptions. Key design objectives for the HdH product are lowest possible mass production cost. The current intent is to perform a critical design review at the end of 2002. but software would be added to adapt the tailkit to the glide wing. but differing from the later tapered wing planform on the Kerkanya. The basic JDAM tailkit is well suited to such an adaptation since the Guidance and Control Unit (GCU) has available internal growth capacity. the HdH Range Extension Kit for the GBU-38 JDAM (JDAM-ER for Extended Range) could enter Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) some time in 2004. Should no unforseen difficulties arise. In the simplest of terms. it does reduce cost and complexity considerably. The wing kit would thus be connected to the GCU via an umbilical. but improves the radar scattering behaviour of the wing. the JDAM tailkit hardware would remain unchanged. Unlike the DSTO demonstrators which used differential pressure sensing ports and a pitot tube to achieve optimal gliding performance. the HdH development team at Fisherman's Bend have been working in earnest to convert the GTV/Kerkanya research findings into a viable design for mass production. and is much easier to mass produce at low cost. Should a customer pursue a high wing configuration. and additional code added to the baseline JDAM to provide for release of the wing. and provide a unique autopilot for the winged variant. While this does not extract the full glide range potential from the design. This reversion loses a few percent in aerodynamic efficiency. and spare unused interfaces to permit the control of additional hardware. the more popular the kit will be with its users. the basic design is aimed at accommodating such changes at the lowest incremental cost. . and improves the reliability of the wing kit.Over the last 2 years. zero hardware changes to the existing GBU-31/32/35/38 tailkits. improved glide range. The design philosophy is centred on producing a flexible product which can further grow as customers request additions. the less time expended and the fewer errors in assembly when deployed in the middle of nowhere. resulting in a qualified design by mid 2003 and flight trials in late 2003. the baseline HdH design will derive its velocity from GPS/inertial outputs. modularity. This effort has involved analysing the basic design issues for the wing from the ground up.
83. At the time of writing the external design was frozen with detail design currently progressing to design review. as the latter is a supersonic weapon with a pinpoint precision imaging seeker and remote datalink control. BLU-118/B warheads. In practice the RAAF would use the AGM-142 to engage air defence and command-control-communications targets. the AGM-142 permits positive operator control of the weapon to impact with a fairly short flight time. The importance of the HdH effort cannot be understated. When dealing with well defended very high value targets.HdH intend to offer scaled variants of the kit for the Mk. and any future warheads in this weight class. a JDAM-ER with 30 to 50 NMI of standoff range for a high altitude release provides a very cheap mass production standoff weapon which defeats all but the largest and most capable area defence SAMs in service.82. while concurrently using the JDAM-ER to engage the fixed targets being defended by those same assets. BLU-110/B. command bunkers or communications nodes. this capability would be expanded to encompass moving targets. The low cost of the JDAM-ER permits its use against much lower value targets. BLU109/B.84. Mk. such as radar installations. Should the JDAM in the future acquire a standard datalink. but are likely to change in detail areas to reflect future customer requirements. even if these are well defended. In strategic terms. As the range of the weapon is well matched to typical combat aircraft radar SAR modes. Available illustrations reflect the current configuration. or targets of opportunity. The JDAM-ER is not a substitute for the AGM-142 SOW. it provides a genuine standoff all weather capability. This contrasts with the less precise. Mk. much slower but also much cheaper JDAM-ER. . mobile command posts.
using the standard JDAM tailkit with suitable software alterations. With a standoff range likely to be well in excess of 50 NMI. the JDAM-ER will revolutionise much of the bombing game. . placing the bomber outside the range of most air defence weapons (Author).The HdH JDAM-ER effort builds on the DTSO GTV/Kerkanya glidebomb effort. and low level toss deliveries. The weapon will be suitable for medium/high altitude drops.
will require smart bomb rack technology. For the F/A-18A this would require a dual or triple rack. the footprint the fighter can hold at risk encompasses roughly a 100 NMI circle. Even with a 50 NMI glide range. A fighter could pickle off an arbitary number of these weapons. A key issue for the RAAF will be achieving a mature Mil-Std-1760 capability on its F-111C/G and F/A-18A fleets before the weapon becomes available. for the F-111C/G a modified BRU-3/A six hardpoint rack.Like all other variants of the JDAM. with a Mil-Std-1760 capability on each ejector. and turn tail while the bombs each autonomously fly to their targets. the JDAM-ER will permit massed attacks against prebriefed targets. especially the 500 lb GBU-38 varianant. The GBU38/JDAM-ER would be especially well suited to the F-111C/G as with four 6 hardpoint smart racks it has to potential to engage 20-24 aimpoints on a single pass. Autonomous targeting of the JDAM-ER will require . Exploiting the full potential of the JDAM-ER. subject to clearances.
under the AIR 5409 Bomb Improvement Program. it has proven its effectiveness very convincingly. Air forces without . designed for genuine all weather use. digital. Most observers consider the introduction of the JDAM into the RAAF inventory as a forgone conclusion.either a good Synthetic Aperture Radar or a high resolution thermal imager with exceptional jitter performance. One hopes that repeated 6 o'clock news observation of BBC and CNN TV footage from Afghanistan will have dispelled their fears or indeed dislike of the weapon! Whether one likes the JDAM or not. autonomous weapons. It is based on the Kerkanya wing kit design (© 2011 Carlo Kopp). although the JDAM has had its fair share of doubters and critics in Russell over recent years. In conclusion the JDAM is the vanguard of a new generation of low cost. since no existing thermal imaging pods come near the required performance (doubters might consider looking up the jitter specifications of such if they choose not to believe this author). The latter makes a good case for some technology insertion into the Pave Tack. It is revolutionising air warfare in a manner analogous to the laser guided bomb three decades ago. and promises to develop into a diverse family of derivative weapons adapted to a range of demanding niche roles. Boeing GBU-38 JDAM-ER prototype in 2011.
2006. The GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb achieved IOC and is being flight tested on the F-22A Raptor [Click for more . during the Resultant Fury Sinkex [Click for more . The baseline JDAM is being integrated on the F/A-18A/B HUG Hornet.]... Notes (2008): Since this article was produced there have been numerous developments in Australia and the United States. The JDAM-ER ACTD progressed and trial drops of the weapon were performed in August.. the latter more suited as advanced trainers given the regional environment [Click for more . funded from internal Boeing Australia budgets [Click for more ..JDAM capability today will be as handicapped as air forces without laser guided bomb capability were two decades ago.. Also initial JDAM integration work was performed on the F-111C..].. The JDAM HART/DAMASK achieved IOC in 2007. In late 2006 then Defence Minister Nelson sold to Federal Cabinet the idea of replacing front line F-111s with F/A-18F Super Hornets.].]. .. The AMSTE system was trialled in 2004 as an alternative maritime strike capability CONOPS.000 seeker kits. with claims that the US Navy would acquire up to 6.