U.S. plans to transfer JDAM kits to Ukraine for precision strikes

The delivery of aviation-guided JDAM bombs to Ukraine will mark a new phase in the provision of Western precision weaponry to the Ukrainian side.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

The U.S. government intends to give Ukraine Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) planning and correction modules for aerial bombs. The delivery of aviation-guided JDAM bombs to Ukraine will mark a new phase in the provision of Western precision weaponry to the Ukrainian side.

The kits include global positioning (GPS) devices for high-precision targeting and can be fitted to numerous types of weapons, turning them into what the U.S. calls a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). The U.S. military has used JDAM Kits for bombs up to 2,000 pounds, usually integrating it into bombers and fighters.

It is still being determined which of President Biden’s senior national security advisers authorised the transfer of JDAM to Ukraine. According to Washington Post, those familiar with the topic, who spoke anonymously to discuss sensitive internal conversations, did not specify whether Ukrainian forces would utilise JDAM kits on aircraft or land-based weapons or which specific systems in Ukraine’s arsenal would be candidates for such usage.

The Ukrainian Air Force relies heavily on outdated Soviet-era MiGs. The Pentagon has been looking for ways to modernise them rather than supplying more modern Western aircraft that would require complex new training for pilots and maintenance personnel.

The Biden administration has previously donated other advanced weapons to Ukraine, including HARM airborne anti-radar missiles, to boost Ukraine’s ability to carry out airstrikes. But this weapon works differently than the GPS-guided JDAM; instead, it targets enemies’ radio emissions.

The delivery of the JDAM will be another significant step by Washington in helping Ukraine repel invading Russian forces by providing a new way to target Russian units and headquarters. Since June, Ukraine has relied heavily on another U.S.-made HIMARS precision-guided missile system to inflict heavy casualties on Russian forces and disrupt their supply lines, according to Ukrainian and U.S. officials.

The Kremlin has reacted angrily to the flow of Western military aid, issuing thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine and warning of the possibility of a wider war with NATO. For this reason, the Biden administration has been careful about approving deliveries of new weapons systems that Russia may view as an escalation.

On December 13, senior U.S. officials told The Washington Post that the Pentagon is preparing to provide Ukraine with Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems, the most advanced U.S. air defence capability. Officials said that Biden has yet to approve the move but may do so soon.

Ukrainian leaders have been pleading for help bolstering their air defences as Russia relentlessly attacked the country’s electricity grid, cutting off the heating for much of the population as the winter cold sets in. The supply of the Patriot air defence system, which uses long-range radar and anti-aircraft missiles to intercept incoming air targets, was one of the top and most frequent requests from Ukraine to Washington.

The United States has provided about $20 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine since the February 24 invasion began.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on December 12 that the administration is focused on “devaluing any Russian effort” to gain an advantage in the war and predicted that the United States would soon announce new arms shipments to Ukraine.


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