Warplanes: JSOW Goes Navy

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February7, 2007: The U.S. Navy has ordered another 376 JSOW GPS guided glide bombs, for $269,000 each. JSOW is basically a smart bomb with wings. That enables it to glide up to 70 kilometers from the aircraft dropping it, to a target on the ground. Range is about 25 kilometers if dropped from low altitude. JSOW also contains more elaborate fins and software that enables it to follow a specific route. Like the wingless JDAM smart bomb, JSOW uses GPS and inertial guidance (as a backup) to find its target. Like JDAM, JSOW hits within 30 feet of its aiming point. The Air Force dropped JSOW, in favor of other guided bombs, in 2005. But the navy is more enthusiastic about the system, and there are plans to use JSOW as an anti-radar weapon, by adding additional sensors to the guidance system. Other guidance system enhancements can make JSOW even more useful, and it's still half the cost of powered glide bombs like JASSM (which the air force favors).

 


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