The United States is planning to send Ukraine electronic equipment that can convert unguided aerial munitions into “smart bombs,” which offer a high degree of precision targeting, according to multiple US officials.
The decision to ship the kits to Ukraine, first reported by the Washington Post, is expected to come in the next Ukraine security aid package as soon as this week, the sources said.
The guidance tail kits combine navigational and global positioning systems, and can be connected to bombs of different weights and sizes, to create what the Pentagon calls a Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM. The US military has used the technology on 500-pound bombs to larger 2,000-pound bombs to strike with a high degree of accuracy.
Officials did not say how many such kits or what specific type of JDAM would be provided.
The precision bombs could help Ukraine attack fixed Russian defensive lines or other large targets. But they are normally dropped from aerial bombers or fighter jets. The Ukrainian Air Force would need to find a way to target and launch JDAMs from their ageing Soviet-era aircraft, much as they did with US-made HARM anti-radiation missiles earlier this year.
The kits give unguided bombs a range of approximately 15 miles, according to the US Air Force, meaning they would not allow Ukraine to strike deep into Russian territory.