Dec. 10, 2004 – The Boeing Company delivered the 100,000 th tail kit on December 2 for the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) weapon to the U.S. Military at its weapons facility near St. Louis.
USAF. Air Force Major General Robert Chedister, commander of the Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., was full of praise for the St. Charles, Mo., based team where the JDAM tail kit is made.
The JDAM tail kits were first produced in 1998, and provide a "near precision capability to Mk 80 series bombs (which range in size from 500 - 2,000 lbs) through GPS satellite-aided navigation". 900 kits a year were made but since 9/11 production has been ramped up to 3,000 tail kits per month. These kits are fitted to free fall bombs and have been used extensively in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The "warfighter"is provided with an autonomous (i.e fire and forget) , all-weather, near-precision bombing capability.
At $20,000 a pop , the USAF is the biggest customer, taking over half production the US Navy have had over 37,000 delivered. remaining production is delivered to " seven international customers." and the company are " pursuing opportunities throughout the world. "
The company say the smallest 500-pound variant is the newest member of the JDAM "family".The inhabitants of Iraq and Afghanistan have frequently been receiving vists from this latest member of the family.
On September 1oth, 2003 at the Utah Test & Training Range, Hill Air Force Base, Utah.the USAF completed their first 80 guided weapon flight test demonstration of the MK-82 500-pound JDAM from a B-2A bomber based at Edwards AFB, Calif., flew to the test site and released the 80 weapons in a single 22-second pass. The B2 bombers are of course stationed at Diego Garcia the illegally held Indian Ocean territory island which the UK lease to the US.
Major William Power, 419th Flight Test Squadron B-2A project pilot. is reported in company press releases, “Dropping 80 JDAM MK-82s in less than 30 seconds, with each attacking their own individual targets, is truly revolutionary.” he went on to say “Placing maximum steel on the target is what we get paid to do as Air Force bomber pilots and that happened today in a big way,”
The good news is of course that the company were able to announce yesterday that company’s Board of Directors approved a 25 %increase in the company’s quarterly dividend. It is the second dividend increase announced in 2004 for shareholders of the world’s largest aerospace company.