Ukraine now using JDAM-ER bombs on Su-27 Flankers too.
About a month after the first photos of the JDAM-ER bombs in Ukraine emerged online, we have now confirmation that the US-supplied GPS-guided bomb, equipped with a range-extending guide kit, is now being used also by the Su-27 Flanker fighters of the Ukrainian Air Force. The photo, published to celebrate the Ukrainian Independence Day, shows Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, UkrAF commander, signing a bomb under the Flanker’s wing.
As we already reported, in March 2023, US and Ukrainian officials confirmed the delivery and the combat employment of the weapon, respectively, but the weapon was never seen in Ukrainian use until last month, when the first photos of the western weapons installed on the Ukrainian Soviet-era jets emerged online. The photos, published in a post to thank the United States on their Independence Day, showing the guided bomb installed on a MiG-29.
“Happy Ukrainian Independence Day!”
Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk. pic.twitter.com/CCUmClvJsy
— Ukrainian Air Force (@KpsZSU) August 24, 2023
The new photo clearly show the Mk-80 series bomb body, as well as the glide kit of the JDAM-ER. The JDAM kits are usually installed on the 500 lb Mk-82, the 1000 lb Mk-83 and the 2000 lb Mk-84 bombs, but US officials did not disclose which one would be used in Ukraine together with the GPS-guidance kit. The bomb body employed in Ukraine appears to be the Mk-82, however it is not known how the bomb is designated when the JDAM-ER kit is installed (the standard 500 lb JDAM is the GBU-38).
The kit combines a pop-out wing kit with the well-know GPS tail guide kit, improving the stand-off capabilities of the weapon. Compared to the standard JDAM which can reach up to 15 miles, the Extended Range variant can hit targets 45 miles away, keeping the launching aircraft further away from enemy air defenses. Just like the AGM-88 HARM, it appears that the JDAM has been installed on the inner pylons of the Su-27’s wings, seemingly by using a modified pylon with the standard MAU-12 ejector rack normally used on the F-15 and F-16.