- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 13, 2001

In the midst of the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. Navy ordered 1,074 more of one of the conflict's most-used weapons bombs with satellite-guided tail kits that steer them to their targets.
The rapid pace of bombing during nine weeks of daily air strikes means that half of the more than 10,000 Joint Direct Attacks Munition kits manufactured so far could have been used, according to estimates.
"We've been using them with great effect, but also in very large numbers and we're looking at how we can build those inventories back as rapidly as possible," says Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
In October, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper said the military would order more JDAMs because its stocks were "below what we want them to be, but OK for what we see on the horizon."
The JDAM satellite guidance kits can be fitted on 1,000-pound or 2,000-pound bombs dropped from a variety of bombers and attack jets. A pilot or bombardier enters target coordinates into the bomb's computer, and the JDAM system controls the tail fins to steer the bomb to its target.
The weapons are relatively inexpensive about $25,000 each, including the bomb, compared with $1 million each for Tomahawk cruise missiles. They can be dropped from up to 15 miles away and from as high as 45,000 feet.
Six hundred of the Navy's new JDAMs order are due by the end of December, said Robert Algarotti, a spokesman for manufacturer Boeing Co. The other 474 the Navy requested during the war are to be ready by March.
Last April, the Pentagon signed a $260 million contract with Boeing to make 12,204 JDAM kits over a year's time to replenish supplies.
Air Force and Navy planes have dropped thousands of JDAMs and other weapons the Pentagon won't say how many on Afghanistan since the campaign began Oct. 7.
The military is rapidly going through other weapons as well:
U.S. planes have dropped at least four 15,000-pound "daisy cutter" bombs in Afghanistan, most recently this week on a cave reportedly holding top al Qaeda leaders.
The military may not have any more of a type of weapon called a fuel-air explosive, said Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem, deputy operations director for the Joint Staff. Those bombs create clouds of explosive mist that then detonate. Such explosions can be used to suck air out of caves or tunnels.
U.S. and British ships fired more than 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the opening days of the war. While the precise inventory of Tomahawks is unknown, Pentagon plans from the early 1990s called for building fewer than 4,000 by now.

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