Air Weapons: Finally, JDAMski

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October 7, 2009: Russia has now developed satellite guided bombs, like the American JDAM, and is offering them for export. The Russian guided bombs use either the Russian GLONASS satellite network (which is not complete yet, and only covers parts of the planet) or the American GPS.

Back in the 1970s, Russia developed its first guided bombs, apparently using U.S. laser guided bomb components recovered by the North Vietnamese in South Vietnam. The KAB-500L is very similar to the American Paveway series of laser guided bombs. That is, a dumb bomb has a guidance kit attached. Russia continued to refine their guided bomb designs, adding one with TV guidance.

Fifteen years ago, China introduced a laser guided bomb that appeared to be reverse engineered U.S. Paveway. These apparently did not perform very well. Three years ago, China introduced a new laser guided bomb; the LT-2. This weapon looks very similar to the Russian KAB-500L 1100 pound (500 kg) laser guided bomb. So the LT-2 may be using licensed or stolen Russian technology.

The first U.S. laser guided bombs showed up in the late 1960s, while the GPS guided bombs entered service in the 1990s.

 


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