Ukraine could become the first operator of a new 150-kilometer precision bomb developed by Boeing and Sweden’s Saab.
According to a Reuters report, the proposal to supply Ukraine with the precision artillery system has been put forward by Boeing, and is currently under review by the Pentagon.
It is worth noting that the United States have repeatedly denied Ukrainian requests for the ATACMS, a rocket the would allow Ukrainian troops to target Russian positions at ranges of close to 300 kilometers, but the smaller-ranged ground-launched small diameter bomb (GLSDB) appears to be an acceptable solution.
GLSDB could be delivered early next year, according to the Reuters report.
GLSDB is based on Boeing’s air-launched GBU-39 small diameter bomb, which has been in production since 2006, with more than 30,000 units shipped.
The M26 rocket motor that is integrated into the air-launched bomb gives it a ground launch capability, and the companies are also working on a modular GLSDB launcher based on a purpose built 20-foot ISO-container. According to the weapon’s developers, it has the ability to fly non-ballistic trajectories and maneuvers to strike targets that cannot be reached by conventional direct fire weapons, such as with reverse slope engagement.
Boeing and Saab were yet to find a customer for the GLSDB as of November last year, but this could change, which means Ukraine could potentially become the first real-world user of the capability.
GLSDB would be latest in a long line of missiles and ammunition provided by the US to Ukraine for its defense against the Russian invasion. These range from 155mm artillery ammunition to High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) rockets, missiles for Hawk and NASAMS air defense systems, AGM-88 high-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs), as well as a range of loitering missiles.