March 20, 2007:
Greece have bought 118 American AGM-154C JSOW (Joint Stand Off Weapon). Poland
is getting 78, Greece the rest. JSOW is basically a smart bomb with wings. That
enables it to glide up to 130 kilometers from the aircraft dropping it, to a
target on the ground. Range is about 50 kilometers if dropped from low
altitude. JSOW also contains more elaborate fins and software that enables it
to follow a specific route. Like the wingless JDAM smart bomb, JSOW uses GPS
and inertial guidance (as a backup) to find its target. Like JDAM, JSOW will
hit within 30 feet of its aiming point.
There are three versions
of JSOW. AGM-154A carries 145 bomblets that attack personnel and vehicles.
AGM-154B contains six SADARM bomblets that seek out and destroy armored
vehicles in an area 300 by 600 meters. This one costs $490,000 each. The
AGM-154C carries a 794 pound warhead that can penetrate concrete or earth
before detonating the high explosives it carries. This model contains a video
link that allows for hitting very small targets (like going through a window)
and costs $720,000 each.
Each JSOW weighs
1,100-1,500 pounds, depending on type. Not a lot of JSOWs have been bought
because there is not a lot of demand for them. The purpose of a stand off
weapon is to keep the aircraft away from enemy anti-aircraft defenses (mainly
missiles.) Some JSOW have been used in Iraq (between 1999 and 2003) and
Afghanistan (2001.) But in most cases, the much cheaper JDAM (about $26,000
each) does the job just as well. But against a better equipped foe, like China,
Syria, Iran or North Korea, JSOW would be more useful.
Poland just received its
first F-16s. Greece is buying JSOW because its ancient enemy (and NATO ally)
Turkey has also bought it. Poland probably bought JSOW just to annoy the