American Guided Bombs Are ‘Operational’ in Ukraine

by | Mar 8, 2023

American Guided Bombs Are ‘Operational’ in Ukraine

by | Mar 8, 2023

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On Aug. 9, an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon dropped a 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) in a designated area of Fort McCoy’s impact area on North Post for the first time in post history as part of training in the Northern Lightning 2021 exercise.

The Department of Defense confirmed that advanced bombs are operational in Ukraine. The Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER) can hit targets 50 miles away. The Pentagon’s confirmation comes after President Joe Biden ordered the Pentagon to transfer “precision aerial munitions” to Kiev in December.

On Monday, U.S. Air Force Gen. James Hecker, head of US Air Forces in Europe,  told reporters that the JDAM-ER was operational in Ukraine. “Recently, we’ve just gotten some precision munitions [to Ukraine] that had some extended range and go a little bit further than the gravity drop bomb and has precision [guidance],” Hecker said. “That’s a recent capability that we were able to give them probably in the last three weeks.”

JDAMs are primarily used to increase the accuracy of bombs. The official did not specify how many or what variation of JDAMs would be sent. The JDAM-ER can be equipped onto 2,000 or 500 pound bombs and will deliver the munition up to 45 miles. JDAMs are compatible with some Western-made fighter jets and drones. 

Officially, Kiev does not possess any aircraft that can drop precision munitions. Biden said he has “for now” ruled out sending American-made aircraft. However, the UK is training Ukrainian pilots on Western-made fighter jets. Ukrainian pilots are in the US this week to determine how much training the airmen will need to become proficient on American planes. 

Additionally, JDAMs have been tested on Quickstrike underwater mines. The Quickstrike bombs are dropped by aircraft in shallow waters and can sit on the seabed for some time before being activated. If Ukraine is utilizing JDAMs on Quickstike mines, it’s still unclear what aircraft Kiev is using in the operations. 


Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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