The Israel Air Force (IAF) is considering purchasing quantities of Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER), which is currently under development by Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force. Israeli aviation experts have been impressed by the recent testing of this weapon system at the Woomera Test Facility in South Australia with the Royal Australian Air Force.
JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit produced by Boeing that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into precision guided "smart" weapons. The JDAM kit consists of a tail section that contains a Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System and body improvements for additional stability and lift. The latest ER version of the JDAM consists of an additional set of wings that are installed on the bomb and extend its range close to a hundred kilometers, which could enable Israeli fighter jets to hit targets in Lebanon and Syria without actually leaving the country's protected airspace.
Israel became the first foreign customer to purchase the standard JDAM system in 2000. The kits were then added on to Mk-84, 2,000-pound bombs, turning simple iron bombs into precision, satellite guided weapons. The IAF has also recently received new shipments of JDAMs that are capable of using a laser for guidance as well as the standard GPS and protected against electronic jamming. In addition, the IAF recently 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.
JDAM-equipped bombs receive data on the kit's target while still attached to the warplane's computer. After the jet releases it, a satellite takes over and guides it to its target. This relieves the aircraft and crew from the need to remain in enemy territory to "ride the bomb down" to its target. The system's greatest benefit is its accuracy regardless of weather conditions, day or night.
The Jerusalem Post reported the IAF’s interest in JDAM-ERs on Dec. 11.