Warplanes: May 15, 2000

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The Air Force is testing an extended range version of the Joint Direct Attack Munition which uses a wing kit for extra lift. The first test flew 24 miles, three times the range without the wings. The Navy was going to pay for the test but pulled out and the Air Force picked up the tab. The Air Force was so impressed it plans to add wings to its 250-pound Small Smart Bomb and to both versions of the JDAM (1,000 pounds and 2,000 pounds). Work is proceeding now on ways to reduce the cost of the wing kits to under $5,000 and the weight from the current 300 pounds to a target of 150 pounds.--Stephen V Cole


 


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