Air Weapons: July 30, 2005


The U.S. Navy recently successfully tested an F-18 dropping a JDAM (satellite guided) bomb on a moving target. The JDAM had its guidance system constantly updated via radio (Digital Communications System, or DCS, using standard military commo gear). The target location updates can be obtained from someone on the ground, with a laser range finder capable of automatically sending the bomber location updates, or, as the U.S. Air Force has done, using a special ground scanning radar (on the E-8 JSTARS aircraft), that can track a moving vehicle on the ground. This effort is partly about perfecting the battlefield Internet, and partly about providing warplanes with an important weapon for the war on terror. Its often the case that terrorists are detected while moving, and a guided missile is not always available to do the job. But just about every American bomber going into a combat zone is carrying a JDAM.


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