“In one of its land-attack modes, the target coordinates from the mission planning system are transferred to JDAM-ER,” says the spokesperson in a written response to Aviation Week’s questions. “In flight, the acceptable launch range is displayed to the pilot. After weapon release, the wings are deployed and JDAM-ER glides to the target following an optimized flight profile. Impact parameters can be commanded to maximize the effectiveness of the bomb.” Those “impact parameters” presumably can include a final steep dive for penetrating hardened or buried targets.
Although the Australian work is based on the Mk. 82, the department says the technology can be scaled to different sizes of bombs and to other, unspecified weapons. “… There is potential to augment JDAM-ER with low-cost seeker systems to engage ships and moving land-based targets,” it adds.
Data from a the preceding Australian program, Kerkanya, suggest an ideal maximum range of about 150 km when launched from 9,100 meters (30,000 ft.) altitude, but Australian defense analyst Carlo Kopp thinks about 110 km is likely to be a practicable range. The more the bomb turns, the shorter the distance it will fly.
“The extended range provides operational flexibility, such as prosecuting more targets on a single pass and attacking off-axis targets,” the spokesperson says.