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Tests prove laser JDAM accuracy on moving targets

The latest version of a Boeing-made bomb is proving accurate against moving targets in early testing, but one component has been changed to improve its reliability.

The US Navy has dropped 18 joint direct attack munitions (JDAM) fitted with a dual-mode GPS and laser seeker against moving and manoeuvering targets, the service said.

"All tests have been considered successful," said Capt Carl Chebi, the navy's programme manager for precision strike weapons.

Dubbed the direct attack moving target capability (DAMTC), the laser-guided JDAM must strike five out of 10 times within a certain area around the target to pass the navy's accuracy test.

The navy did not describe the size of the circle around the target. However, a 2010 report by the director of the office of test and evaluation describes the distance as a radius of 6m (19.7ft) from the aimpoint.

Boeing has changed the glass window for the bomb's laser seeker with a sapphire window, the navy said. The new material will help the weapon "withstand exposure to weather and the elements".

Final testing to add the moving target capability for JDAM should be complete by the end of next year, the navy said.

The DAMTC version of the bomb has been ordered for the USN's and US Marine Corps' Boeing F/A-18s and McDonnell Douglas AV-8Bs.

Meanwhile, Boeing has announced receiving two contracts worth up to $100 million since 14 March for the JDAM programme. A $92 million deal signed by the US Air Force orders a second batch of 4,000 guidance kits for JDAMs. The USN also signed an $8 million contract on 17 March for 700 laser seekers to support the DAMTC programme.