IAF purchases advanced 'smart bombs'

New laser-guided weaponry will improve air force's ability to accurately hit fast-moving targets.

IAF jet 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
IAF jet 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Israel Air Force has purchased a new and advanced JDAM smart bomb with a laser-targeting system that will improve the IAF's ability to accurately hit fast-moving targets. According to an Israeli Defense Ministry official, the order was placed earlier this summer for over 100 LJDAM (Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition) kits. The JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit that converts existing unguided, or "dumb," free-fall bombs into guided "smart" weapons. The JDAM kit consists of a tail section that contains a Global Positioning System and body improvements for additional stability and lift. The laser version of the JDAM adds a laser seeker to the nose of the JDAM-equipped bomb which improves its ability to accurately engage moving targets. The first LJDAMs were delivered to the United States Air Force in 2008. "This will give the IAF better accuracy when trying to hit moving targets, such as terrorists in fast-moving cars," the ministry official explained, adding that the IAF would first train with the new bomb and then likely place a larger order in the future. Israel has also expressed interest in the JDAM-ER, the official said, which consists of an additional set of wings that are installed on the bomb, extending its range from 15 to 55 nautical miles. Israel became the first foreign customer to purchase the standard JDAM system, manufactured by Boeing, in 2000. The kits were then added on to Mk-84 2,000-pound bombs, turning them into precision, satellite-guided weapons. Last year, the IAF completed an upgrade of its F-15 fleet to enable all models of the aircraft to carry JDAM bombs. Until now, only the F-15I was capable of carrying the smart-bomb.