In one of the latest additions to the supply of arms flowing from the United States and its allies to Ukraine, JDAMs, precision air-to-ground weapons, may be on their way to the battlefield. According to a Washington Post article, Biden is planning to send Joint Direct Attack Munition kits to the emboldened Ukrainian offensive, providing its air force with new capabilities to target precise coordinates on the ground from a safe distance. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan explains how this development might prove crucial for the Ukrainian forces once we get past “mud season next May.”
Excerpted from Peter’s Dec. 19 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:
If you’ve ever spent time in a pub throwing back (a few too many) pints, you’ve probably wandered over to the dart board. And hopefully you can at least hit the board, but beyond that…who knows where that dart is going. Take that analogy and apply it to Ukraine’s current arsenal of bombs.
The Ukrainians have struggled to hit a target with any degree of confidence until now. Introducing JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions). Relying on our analogy…JDAMs are like putting that same dart into the hands of a 65-year-old chap from the UK…and he doesn’t miss often.
This technology has the ability to change the tactical and strategic scope of this war. With Ukraine’s unrestricted airspace, they can now hit any location within range with pinpoint accuracy. More like J-DAMN…
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Hi, everyone, Peter Zion here coming to you from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, which I don’t know if you guys have been here before. But it used to be not so much the place where Hope went to die, but went to get tortured for all eternity with adult penknife. And now, it’s not just glorious, it’s functional. And that’s just fantastic. This merging of the old and new, I thought it would be a good backdrop to talk about one of the more recent developments in the Ukraine war, we are looking at in the next few weeks, the Americans starting to provide a different technology to the Ukrainians, specifically J dams or joint direct attack munitions. If you remember back, and you know, for anyone who’s under age 45, this is going to be nothing. But if you remember back to the first Gulf War, we saw a lot of footage in American propaganda of direct strikes on Iraqi military targets, basically live footage that for the first time showed the US military from the bombs point of view. And it was impressive, and it was fun to watch. But we found out after the war, that it’s not that it was staged, but we were only seeing the best on average, it took 24 attacks, to destroy each piece of infrastructure, because these were dumb bombs. And so it was the tomahawks that kind of stole the show because they could maneuver. Well, in the aftermath, United States created the JDM products. And I’m oversimplifying here, but you basically put a bunch of fins, and a GPS transceiver on the bomb, and use the satellite network to provide the location information. And once you do that, you can hit within a few feet of what you’re aiming at. And the JDM kits are very cheap. They’re only about $25,000 a pop, and you can take anything in your arsenal, that’s a dumb bomb, basically planted on it, and then you know, go to town. No, normally, this wouldn’t make a big difference. Because the Ukrainians are wildly outnumbered in terms of airpower, the Russians just have so many more fighters and fighter bombers. But in the environment that we’re moving into where the Russians have been targeting civilian infrastructure, everyone in Europe has decided that now is the time to provide the Ukrainians with as much air defense as they can operate. And in that sort of environment, all of a sudden, Russian jets are largely banned from Ukrainian airspace, without NATO providing any fighter jets at all. In that sort of environment, the Ukrainians now can actually fly offensive air attack missions rather than purely defensive. And that means they can get in range of Russian targets, not just in Ukraine proper, but in Russia itself. And now they can hit them with pinpoint accuracy. So this is one of those technologies that when we get past mud season into next May, is going to prove crucial. Because all of a sudden, you’ve got a country with unrestricted air access, who can target whatever they want, anywhere within range of all of the technologies that come into play, whether it’s javelins, or hammers, or whatever else this is now but one that could actually change the tactical and strategic picture in every place that the Ukrainians choose to operate. So things to look for. Oh, wow. There’s a petting zoo down here. All right, I gotta go Y’all take care. Bye. Bye.