Ukraine Admits Using US-supplied JDAM-ER Bombs
The announcement from the Ukrainian Air Force confirms earlier statements by US officials that we had supplied the JDAM-ER to Ukraine. The US is providing Ukraine with a long-range GPS-guided bomb by Boeing Co.; industry officials also said last March. Ukrainian media outlets also reported using the new bomb on March 10.
Recently, General James Hecker, who is in charge of the United States Air Force's operations in Europe and Africa, provided confirmation that the Ukrainian Air Force has received and put to use the JDAM-ER guided bombs that have been donated in recent weeks.
The bomb will provide the ability to hit targets with considerable destructive power. JDAM has a 15-mile range, while JDAM-ER flies 45 miles after the aircraft launch. There is no information that Ukraine has also received standard JDAMs. “We used JDAM bombs,” Yuriy Ignat, spokesman for the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, told Ukrainian television and added, “These are Western-style bombs with which our air force successfully strikes important targets. These bombs are slightly less powerful but extremely accurate. I would like to have more such bombs for success at the front.” There is no clear explanation for why Ignat found them less powerful. His words may suggest that the weapons supplied to Ukraine are not 2,000-pound bombs, maybe 1000 or 500-pound bombs.
So far, there are no photographic details of bombs. It is not known which aircraft was used by Ukraine to launch the JDAM. Ukraine has a fleet of MiG-29 Fulcrum, Su-27 Flanker, Su-24 Fencer, and Su-25 Frogfoot. Several MiG-29s and Su-27s were previously reported to have undergone integration with the US-made AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM).
The United States Department of Defence has not yet publicly acknowledged that it will be sending the modified version of Boeing's JDAM. Instead, the Pentagon has stated that it will be sending "precision aerial munitions" as part of a $1.85 billion package that was announced on December 21.
The JDAM is a guidance kit that transforms unguided Mk80 family bombs into all-weather precision-guided munitions that can be used in any environment. Both a tail control system and a GPS-aided inertial navigation system contribute to the aircraft's ability to navigate accurately (INS).