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Smart bombs score another hit in extended range tests

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15 October, 2008
Media Release Number:

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, today announced the successful testing of the Joint Direct Attack Munition - Extended Range (JDAM-ER) weapon which will enable the RAAF to deploy strike weapons more safely and effectively.

The underside of the Australian developed Extended Range wing kit
The underside of the Australian developed Extended Range wing kit

The JDAM-ER is a conventional JDAM, enhanced with an Australian-designed wing kit, based on technology licensed from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).

“This round of testing builds on the initial proving of the wing attachment in August 2006 under the Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) program managed by DSTO,” Mr Snowdon said.

“DSTO developed the gliding mechanism in a wing attachment that enables the 500-pound JDAM weapon to accurately find long-range targets, giving the launch aircraft a fire-and-forget capability at a safe standoff distance, well out of harm’s way from enemy threats on the ground.”

The JDAM-ER wing kit was developed by Boeing’s Hawker de Havilland subsidiary from DSTO’s original technology called ‘Kerkanya’ (an Aboriginal word for Kestrel Hawk).

The recent tests, conducted at the Woomera Test Facility in South Australia by the Aerospace Operational Support Group on Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, demonstrated further performance enhancements of the system.

“By increasing range and accuracy, the delivery of the weapon will be more effective, allowing a single aircraft to engage multiple targets while the extended range also increases the survivability of the aircrew and the aircraft launching the weapon,” Mr Snowdon said.

The latest tests were conducted under the scope of a Defence Materiel Organisation, Industry Division Minor Project to further develop the JDAM-ER into a usable product.

Mr Snowdon said the successful tests highlighted the value of CTD arrangements in maturing good ideas by combining industry and Defence resources.

Consideration will now be given to further develop the wing kits for commercial production.

“If the wing kits are commercially viable, there is likely to be significant Australian industry involvement in the manufacturing activities,” Mr Snowdon said.

Media note: Still images will be made available at  Vision will be fed to the Federal Parliament House Press Gallery later today.

Media contacts:

Kate Sieper (Warren Snowdon):               02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689
Jimmy Hafesjee (DSTO):                          02 6128 6376 or 0404 042 457
Defence Media Liaison:                            02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) is part of Australia's Department of Defence. DSTO's role is to ensure the expert, impartial and innovative application of science and technology to the defence of Australia and its national interests.

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