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Jamming JDAM: The Threat to US Munitions from Russian Electronic Warfare


Jamming JDAM: The Threat to US Munitions from Russian Electronic Warfare
Dr Thomas Withington
6 June 2023
Leaked US documents show that Russian electronic warfare may be having a negative effect on US-supplied Joint Direct Attack Munitions.

The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) began life in the wake of the US-led Operation Desert Storm which evicted Iraq from Kuwait in 1991. Lessons learned from the campaign by the US armed forces included the need for an all-weather precision munition. The concept would harness the US Global Positioning System (GPS) Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) satellite constellation. GPS had been a star performer in Desert Storm. Catapulted into the public consciousness, GPS systems used by the Coalition helped weapons find their targets and troops reach their objectives. Since then, GPS has become a standard feature of military and civilian life.

What is JDAM?
The JDAM’s name is – to an extent – a misnomer, as it is not a weapon per se. Instead, the term covers a panoply of kits outfitting an array of ‘dumb’ bombs. These kits equip the mid- and tail-section of an unguided bomb and contain the GPS and an Inertial Guidance System (INS). The INS, which does not depend on GPS PNT signals, also helps the weapon’s precision. Today, 15 different JDAM kits are in service, equipping a range of bombs weighing from 500 lb (225 kg) to 2,000 lb (900 kg).

The basic concept of operations for JDAM is for the guidance kit to be loaded with the target’s coordinates, most probably latitude and longitude. These coordinates are either transferred from the aircraft or loaded before the sortie. Target coordinates can also be updated during the mission. The weapon is released, and the tail unit continually receives signals from the GPS constellation on the bomb’s position relative to the target. The bomb’s trajectory is continually adjusted by the fins on the tail unit as it heads towards the target, based on the PNT information it is receiving and the data provided by its INS. Publicly available figures indicate that JDAM guidance kits can hit within 5 m (16 ft) of a target or less. Should the GPS signal be unavailable, the INS can steer the bomb to within 30 m (98 ft) of the target.

Oh yeah!  They don't have any electronics that can screw up CRT, good pronoun usage, and wokeness!  Milley has time to make it worse yet, though! :whistle:


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