GBU-38 JDAMs are mounted on an MQ-9 Reaper
during drop testing at NAWS China Lake, CA
3/10/2009 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OH --
The already lethal MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft
system will soon bring even more punch to the enemy in
the form of the Joint Direct Attack Munition.
The results of the series of GBU-38 JDAM test drops
at the China Lake test range in California are still
being evaluated, but they mark a significant step in
certifying the Reaper to carry the 500-pound version
of the JDAM.
Considering the Reaper's perfect nine hits out of
nine drops, the way ahead looks clear.
"This is a great success that adds another valuable
weapon system to the warfighter's arsenal," said Col.
Chris Coombs, 703rd Aeronautical Systems Group
commander. "Putting the JDAM on the Reaper
significantly increases its lethality on the
Flight testing is only one part of the process,
according to Colonel Coombs. After additional
analysis, the group hopes to certify JDAM capability
on the Reaper this July.
Currently, the Reaper is authorized to carry the
GBU-12 Paveway II, which is a 500-pound laser-guided
bomb and the AGM-114 Hellfire missile. The JDAM adds
the precision afforded by its global positioning
system guidance control unit along with adverse
"We try to look at the types of target sets the
warfighter needs to engage and the best weapon to
utilize including a range of factors such as
collateral damage," Colonel Coombs said. "Our next
step is to add the GBU-39B Small Diameter Bomb, which
will further increase the types of target sets the
warfighter can engage."
The Aeronautical Systems Center's 703rd AESG teamed
with other contractors and government agencies from
General Atomics, The Boeing Co., Kaman Dayron Co., as
well as the 678th Armament Systems Squadron and 679th
Armament Systems Squadron, both based at Eglin AFB,
Fla., to conduct the tests. In fact, the 679th ARSS
was awarded the John J. Welch Jr. Award for
Acquisition Leadership in large part to the squadron's
efforts in the JDAM tests.
Source: USAF Press Release by Daryl Mayer