American weapons first dropped by stealth bombers over Kosovo in 1999 and then during the fighting in the post-9/11 wars will soon be used by Ukrainian pilots to counter the Russian invasion, according to a New York Times report.

The US President Joe Biden’s administration announced this week that the weapons would be part of a new $1.85 billion military aid package, giving Kyiv a precision bombing capability it never had before.

The weapon, called the Joint Direct Attack Munition, consists of a kit that turns a cheap, unguided bomb into a highly accurate, GPS-guided weapon, commonly referred to as a JDAM.

With the right kind of equipment, Ukrainian planes can carry multiple JDAMs on a single mission, just as American and NATO warplanes do.

It’s a guidance kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurate and rapid smart munitions, and was the product of a joint program between the US Air Force and the US Navy.

Technically, JDAM refers to a kit that clips onto a Mark-80 series general-purpose bomb for the US Army, turning it into a GPS-guided weapon.

The weapon usually comes in three sizes ranging from 500 to 2,000 pounds, but it isn’t known the nature of the models that Kyiv will be supported with, according to the New York Times.

Since their first combat use in the late 1990s, JDAMs have been improved with new capabilities, and they can operate with a variety of fuses that control whether they detonate above ground, on the surface, or after penetrating the ground.

One updated kit adds a pair of wings that open after the bomb is dropped, allowing it to fly more than 40 miles to the target.

The weapon is relatively inexpensive, and the average price for a basic JDAM kit is just over $24,000 apiece, according to the US Navy website.

Unlike some of the weapons the United States has provided to Ukraine, the problem isn’t the length of training or the cost of maintenance.

Some basic hardware and software issues had to be resolved, according to the New York Times.

JDAM kits aren’t designed for use with Russian-made Ukrainian bombs.

The Soviet warplanes used by Ukraine cannot carry US made bombs, and its computers cannot communicate electronically with US guided munitions.

Months ago, the US military solved the most difficult part of this problem, and an adapter was created to connect the parts that connect the weapon to the plane.

Mike Petrusha, a retired Air Force colonel who spent decades flying as a weapons officer on the F4G and F15E fighters, said the Army developed a system to adapt the US-made weapon to a foreign aircraft using a laptop computer with a GPS connected via Bluetooth.

The number of those destined for Kyiv hasn’t been announced, although the 500-pound JDAMs are likely to be made available to start with, marking a significant increase in Ukraine’s precision-guided munition capabilities.

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