U.S. uses bomb that reduces collateral damage in Fallujah

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The U.S. military has deployed a lighter version of an air bomb in the current invasion of the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

U.S. officials said the new weapons was meant to reduce collateral damage in targeting Sunni insurgency positions in Fallujah. The GBU-38, dropped by F-16 multi-role fighters, is 500 pounds and guided by the Joint Direct Attack Munition system.

The first 500-pound JDAMs were deployed in a combat operation on Oct. 29 in Fallujah, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said two bombs destroyed an insurgency stronghold with slight collateral damage.

"The 500-pound JDAM is perfect for the urban warfare that's taking place now in Iraq," U.S. Navy Capt. Dave Dunaway, JDAM program manager, said. "Precision, reliability, and accuracy is exactly what the warfighter was asking for, and we are pleased that we could respond quickly."

The JDAM guidance kit converts existing unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions. JDAM has been manufactured by Boeing. Officials said the military rapidly tested, procured and deployed the GBU-38 in an attempt to acquire greater flexibility and accuracy. They said the effort to acquire initial operational capability was achieved eight months ahead of schedule.

During the military attack on Fallujah, U.S. Air Force F-16s dropped GBU-38s on suspected insurgency targets. Officials said the 500-pound JDAMs proved effective, but they did not elaborate.

The GBU-38 completed initial operational evaluation on Sept. 28 following tests at Naval Air Command test ranges in southern California.

The military then evaluated the bomb and deemed it capable for operations on Oct. 8.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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