Air Weapons: October 12, 2004


This year, the United States began using the new GBU-30, a 500 pound JDAM (GPS guided) smart bomb, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Commanders have been asking for this lighter weight JDAM for some time. A smaller smart bomb is better for use in urban areas, as it causes less collateral damage to people and structures you are not trying to destroy. Work on the GBU-30 began in 2000. The 1,000 and 2,000 pound JDAMs were already in service back then. The GBU-30 was designed for use by the F-16, F-18 and B-2. It has also been tested on the Predator B UAV. There is also as add-on laser guidance module for all JDAMs that will enter service next year. This will enable pilots to use each JDAM with GPS or laser guidance (which is more accurate, but does not work well if there clouds, rain, snow, sand storms or fog are in the way.) Commanders would prefer to have the 250 pound Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), but that wont ready for service until next year. 


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