​A New Tool for Ukraine’s HIMARS to Hit russians at 160 km: When Ukraine Can Get Such Ammunition

New weapons for HIMARS and M270 / Illustration: Saab
New weapons for HIMARS and M270 / Illustration: Saab

The USA is considering the possibility of transferring new high-precision weapons for missile systems to the Armed Forces of Ukraine

As The Guardian reports citing a Reuters, the Pentagon is considering a Boeing proposal to supply Ukraine with cheap, small precision bombs fitted on to abundantly available rockets, allowing Kyiv to strike far behind Russian lines.

The United States of America and allied military inventories are shrinking, and Ukraine faces an increasing need for more sophisticated weapons as the war drags on. Boeing’s proposed system, dubbed Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), is one of about a half-dozen plans for getting new munitions into production for Ukraine and America’s eastern European allies, industry sources told the news agency.

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GLSDB could be delivered as early as spring 2023, according to a document reviewed by Reuters and three people familiar with the plan. It combines the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with the M26 rocket motor, both of which are common in US inventories.

Although a handful of GLSDB units have already been made, there are many logistical obstacles to formal procurement. The Boeing plan requires a price discovery waiver, exempting the contractor from an in-depth review that ensures the Pentagon is getting the best deal possible. Any arrangement would also require at least six suppliers to expedite shipments of their parts and services to produce the weapon quickly.

Although the US has rebuffed requests for the 185-mile (297km) range Atacms missile, the GLSDB’s 94-mile (150km) range would allow Ukraine to hit valuable military targets that have been out of reach and help it continue pressing its counterattacks by disrupting Russian rear areas.

Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb, A New Tool for Ukraine’s HIMARS to Hit russians at 160 km: When Ukraine Can Get Such Ammunition, Defense Express
Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB)

GLSDB is made jointly by Saab AB and Boeing Co and has been in development since 2019, well before the invasion, which Russia calls a “special operation”. In October, SAAB chief executive Micael Johansson said of the GLSDB: “We are imminently shortly expecting contracts on that.”

According to the document – a Boeing proposal to US European – has small, folding wings that allow it to glide more than 100km if dropped from an aircraft and targets as small as 3ft in diameter.

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