Pentagon declines 185-mile rockets for Ukraine, but 94-mile counteroffer could be just fine – Technology Org

Boeing proposed sending their new long-range high-precision rocket to Ukraine. This scary thing is known under the short name GLSDB.

These are GBU-39 SDB rockets, airplane-launched versions. GLSDB is a ground-launched modification with the same warhead. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Lance Cheung

If approved, rocket-propelled gliding bombs could be delivered to Ukraine as early as spring 2023.

The full name of these munitions is Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB). They are relatively cheap, and can be fitted on a wide range of rockets, including those that are already available in Ukraine. Its warhead contains GBU-39, the so-called small-diameter bomb. It is coupled with a relatively common and also inexpensive M26 rocket motor which is compatible with the M270A multiple launch rocket system.

The official effective range of GSLDB is 94 miles. Initially, the projectile is launched to a high altitude at a high velocity. Then, the warhead deploys its wings and glides to its target. It has protective measures against electromagnetic jamming and can be used in any weather.

By the way, GLSDB can also be dropped from an aircraft – then, the maximum gliding distance exceeds 100 km (62 miles).

It is smaller compared to other MLRS-compatible missiles, does not pack that much destructive force, but is significantly less expensive, and could lead to important savings in standard munitions like those that are used in HIMARS, by reserving them for larger strategic targets.

GLSDB, however, is no less scary than any of the modern long-range weapons. It offers 360-degree coverage, supports high and low angles of attack, can literally fly around the mountain to hit the targets hiding behind, or can even make a 180-degree circle to fly past the original launching point, to hit the target that appears behind the launcher vehicle.

In terms of range, GLSDB is a compromise compared to ATACMS. But at 94 miles (150 km), it would enable Ukrainian Armed Forces to hit enemy targets at really large distances. A single unit of GLSDB has a price tag of $40,000 which is at least three times less than a base model of an ATACMS rocket.

GLSDB has been developed through joint cooperation of Boeing and SAAB.

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