Air Weapons: Chinese JDAM

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June 13, 2007: China has developed their own version of the American JDAM GPS smart bomb kit. The LS6 (Lei Shi 6) has wings, like the more recent JDAM kits, and can glide 40-60 kilometers, depending on the altitude it is dropped from. China began developing LS6 in 2003, and completed testing late last year. The wings fold back, until the bomb is dropped. JDAM is not particularly high tech, and well within Chinese technical capabilities. China is apparently preparing to offer the LS6 for sale, as well as using it themselves. They believe that the United States would not turn off GPS in wartime, given their own heavy dependence on JDAM and other GPS guided weapons. This will be a major selling point for their own LS6 (which, like JDAM, has a back up inertial guidance system). China also plans to have LS6 versions that can use the Russian GPS (GLONASS) and a regional Chinese GPS (that only covers eastern China.) This regional satellite navigation system may eventually be expanded and upgraded, to provide China with its own version of GPS. But in the meantime, the Chinese see GPS as a stable and useful resource for their own smart bombs.

Because China can manufacture military equipment much more cheaply than the United States, they can probably sell it for about half the American price (under $15,000 per kit.)

 


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