This year marks the 20th anniversary of the day in 1998 when Boeing delivered the first production model of the GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition to the U.S. Air Force. JDAM has transformed strike warfare by enabling pilots to hit targets with great accuracy regardless of weather conditions. A single tactical aircraft, equipped with JDAMs, can destroy half a dozen enemy targets in one sortie. The weapons are inexpensive, and since they can glide several miles to intended targets, they are also safer for pilots to use; planes don’t have to fly over heavily-defended targets. Because JDAM is so precise, it permits pilots to minimize unintended (“collateral”) damage. It has begun an era in the history of strike warfare when militaries have few excuses for killing innocent civilians. I have written a commentary here.
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