The Boeing/Saab team is preparing to transfer the first batch of Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB) to the Ukrainian Defense Forces. Global Defense writes about this, citing senior director of business at Boeing Company Jim Leary.
“We are on track to deliver in accordance with the government line,” Leary said.
Ukraine is expected to receive GLSDB-guided bombs as early as this winter.
The GLSDBs were supposed to arrive in Ukraine this fall, but due to development and production issues, delivery is expected in winter 2023.
GLSDB is a GBU-39 small guided bomb weighing 130 kilograms, which is connected to a solid rocket engine from an M26 rocket. This weapon is launched from ground-based missile systems. When the engine detaches, the wings of the bombs open in the air, providing a significantly longer range.
The range of the GLSDB guided cruise missile is 150 km. To compare, the GMLRS missiles for HIMARS available to the Armed Forces of Ukraine have a range of 70 km.
Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) missiles are an alternative to ATACMS missiles. Ukraine will obtain GLSDBs no earlier than autumn, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper said while giving testimony to the US Congress on Jun. 22.
The GLSDB precision-guided rounds were produced in cooperation with Boeing and SAAB Company. Their design has been upgrading since 2019.
The announcement of the GLSDB missile transfer to Ukraine was made on Feb. 3, 2023, as part of a $2.175 billion American military aid package for Ukraine.
The GLSDB is a collaborative effort between Boeing (United States) and SAAB AB (Sweden). These munitions can be launched from the HIMARS and M270 systems, which have already been supplied to Ukraine.
The developers say that the M26 rocket motor is relatively affordable, and the production of the GBU-39 bomb costs about $40,000 per unit, making the GLSDB an inexpensive weapon with its main components readily available for production.
The GLSDB uses GPS and an inertial navigation system to guide the target.
The GLSDB glide bomb’s extended range of 94 miles (150 kilometres) could enable Ukraine to hit previously unreachable Russian military targets on the occupied territories, far behind the frontlines.
The GLSDB bombs can assist the Ukrainian Army in its counterattacks by disrupting Russian positions in the rear and supply chains.