MiG-29 Fulcrum drops badass JDAM bombs but keeps failing – Mizokami

Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine has been trying to engage its military industry. It is a little difficult at the moment for the Ukrainian weapons complex to discuss the country’s needs for production facilities on its territory of the country. Therefore, in recent months, Kyiv has exported a significant part of its production to countries close to Ukraine.

Slovakia says goodbye to MiG-29s, and Ukraine hopes to get them
Photo credit: Global Look Press

We know for sure that the Czech Republic is one of those countries. What ammunition is made in the Czech Republic together with Ukroboronexport – the company does not say. But Ukraine officially confirms that it already produces its own ammunition – 82mm and 120mm mortar shells outside the country. There is already the first evidence that 120mm shells find use on the battlefield.

Going back further, we will remember the successful attack of the Ukrainian Air Force on the Russian air base in Crimea – Saki. According to the international press, Ukraine used a MiG-29 that launched an AGM-88 HARM is a tactical, air-to-surface anti-radiation missile. Earlier we explained the significance of this missile and how it most likely punched a “hole” in the base’s air defenses.

This integration, by the way, is why Washington and Kyiv are working on a joint JDAM bomb that would allow integration into the MiG-29. This is no secret – Ukraine and the USA have already confirmed their joint development. What’s more – JDAM is already in Ukraine and should be used on the battlefield.

F-35 will carry solid rocket-ramjet AARGM-ER: INS/GPS, 250km range AGM-88 HARM
Photo credit: Wikipedia

You should? Yes, the question is apt, because, for the fourth month, there is no encouraging information about the effectiveness of the bomb. Integration shouldn’t be a problem once you’ve integrated a HARM missile. Then?

Kyle Mizokami is a writer specializing in defense, security, and military development content. Based on reports from the Pentagon Leaks, which also describe the JDAM’s lack of expected success, he makes a likely guess as to where the root cause of the bomb’s failure lies.

But before that – what is a JDAM bomb? It is an inexpensive development that changes not only the meaning of the word “bomb”, but also its striking power and precision. An auxiliary kit is attached this time to the most ordinary bomb, which, when dropped from an airplane, falls headlong vertically downwards. The kit includes wings and GPS navigation, along with a computer that communicates with the fighter pilot. After the bomb is released with this kit, a motor is turned on that directs the bomb to a target tens of kilometers away. I.e. the bomb no longer falls vertically but moves horizontally. This is a great example of how to dump bombs can be turned into mini rockets.

So Mizokami says that one reason could be silencing. Russia is considered to be the most advanced country in the world in this technology. Hundreds of millions have been invested in the development of silencing systems in recent years.

MiG-29 Fulcrum drops badass JDAM bombs but keeps failing - Mizokami
Photo credit: Getty Images

Mizokami suggests the following: the MiG-29 drops the JDAM bomb, with the coordinates of the target previously set. For the attack to be successful, the aircraft must move closer to the front line. However, the bomb has a limited range. Near the front, Russian air defense radars pick up the plane.

In this situation, two directions are informed – air defense with possible air support, if air combat is needed, and divisions for waging electronic warfare. They [electronic warfare units] turn on their jammers. Now could be the powerful Krasukha-4, Pole 21-E, or R-330Zh Zhitel. These jammers operate on the same GPS frequency, rejecting the JDAM bomb’s GPS signals. Without the use of these signals, the bomb becomes a dumb bomb again. It no longer has anything to follow, misses the mark, or simply falls far short of the mark itself.

Each JDAM, in addition to GPS navigation, also has an Inertial Navigation System [INS]. Now, according to many experts who have no reason to doubt, INS navigation is not as accurate as GPS. But hey, better navigation than no navigation, right!

Insufficient INS accuracy is one of the possible reasons for the failure of JDAM bombs. Another reason may have been that the USA and Ukraine did not foresee the integration of INS navigation at all. Another reason could be low-flying fighters. I.e. when the MiG-29 is flying low, the distance between the aircraft and the target does not allow corrections to be made to the flight of the JDAM bombs.

MiG-29 Fulcrum drops badass JDAM bombs but keeps failing - Mizokami
Photo credit: Getty Images

There is a solution though. Laser-targeting. But that will take time. MiG-29s do not have laser target designators [pointer], and it will take time for Ukraine and the US to provide them in the new JDAM configurations. But, it is still a way out of the bad situation, and it is eloquent – at the moment, the Ukrainian JDAMs simply do not hit.


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