Boeing and Australian firm Ferra Engineering have signed a memorandum to extend production of wing kits for the Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM ER) program.
Developed by Boeing for the US Air Force, JDAM is a weapon kit that turns explosives into precision-guided warheads coupled with navigation systems for enhanced air-to-surface accuracy.
Extending Supply, Opening Future JDAM Projects
Under the contract, Ferra will continue supplying Boeing with the 500-pound (227 kilograms) wing kits until 2028.
The collaboration falls under the Australian Department of Defence’s Guided Weapons and Explosives Ordnance Enterprise objectives to enhance its sovereign weapons capability, Boeing wrote.
The partnership aligns with the Australian, UK, and US or AUKUS trilateral military cooperation to enhance Indo-Pacific security by procuring nuclear-powered submarines for Canberra.
In addition to the manufacturing deal, Boeing and Ferra agreed to explore applications of the Powered JDAM, a low-cost munition kit variant with a range of 300 nautical miles (555 kilometers/345 miles).
Current JDAM ER variants can reach 43 nautical miles (80 kilometers/50 miles).
“These wing kits developed by Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group and produced for Boeing by Ferra in collaboration with US partners are a success story for Australian industry,” Boeing Precision Engagement Systems VP Bob Ciesia said.
“Our participation in Defence’s Global Supply Chain Program helped enable the partnership on JDAM ER wing kits and now opportunities for Powered JDAM.”
Testing of the first JDAM ER for the Australian military began in 2006.
Boeing and Ferra signed a contract to produce precision wing kits for Australia in 2013. Two years later, the initial JDAM ER tranche was delivered.
Supporting Australian Defence Force
Ferra Engineering Managing Director Aaron Thompson highlighted the advantage of the strategic partnership for Canberra’s military goals.
“The [Royal Australian Air Force] was Boeing’s first JDAM ER customer and we have partnered with Boeing for 12 years to produce this critical global defence capability,” Thompson said.
“The expanded partnership further strengthens Australian industry’s capacity to contribute to the future needs of the Australian Defence Force and support its priorities to deter aggression and defend our country and our allies in the rapidly evolving threat environment.”