The next military assistance package the US is preparing for Ukraine includes, according to sources, GLSDB (Launched Small Diameter Bomb) guided bombs.
This is a GBU-39 bomb, usually launched from aircraft, equipped with an M26 rocket motor. Both items are in large quantities in US Army depots and there will be no stockpile problems, as there were with the FIM-92 Stinger systems.
The bomb can be guided to avoid obstacles or air defense systems, unlike conventional missiles, which follow a parabolic trajectory to the target. GLSDB also includes anti-jamming systems.
These bombs will double the range at which Ukraine can repeatedly strike enemy positions, up to 151 km. Currently, the longest-range weapon in Ukraine’s arsenal is the GMLRS missile, used in the HIMARS platform. It can hit targets up to 77 kilometres away.
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Ukrainian forces have also attacked targets further afield, but in those cases used modified Soviet drones, available in very limited numbers.
Hopefully the new bombs will reach Ukraine before a major new offensive Moscow is preparing. For this, Russia would have amassed 500,000 troops.
The GLSDB was developed by the Swedes from SAAB in collaboration with the Americans from Boeing. The first tests were conducted in 2015.
According to Reuters sources, Ukraine is expected to receive the weapons by spring.
Washington is holding off for now on giving Kiev the Army Tactical Missile System (MGM-140) ATACMS missiles it has been insisting on. These can reach targets up to 300 km away.
The war in Ukraine, which began on 24 February 2022, is a bloody one. According to estimates by Norway’s Ministry of Defence, almost 300,000 servicemen (180,000 Russian and 100,000 Ukrainian) have died or been wounded in the conflict. At the same time, more than 30,000 civilians have been killed, according to the same source.