Ukraine may get new missiles with 150 kilometers of range: What are the capabilities of GLSDB? – Technology Org

The Russian invasion of Ukraine became a real problem for NATO. Military aid needs to continue to ensure a victory for the defending Ukraine. However, at the same time, NATO members cannot donate all of their weaponry, leaving themselves vulnerable to potential threats. In this context Boeing’s proposal to send the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) rocket artillery munitions simply makes sense.

GLSDB munitions combine the Small Diameter Bomb I with the M26 rocket engine. It is a highly maneuverable missile, which doesn’t follow a ballistic path in its 150 km journey towards the target. Image credit: SAAB

The GLSDB missiles were described by the Swedish defense technology manufacturer SAAB in September this year, but it is not exactly a new technology. In fact, this weapon has been in development for the better part of the decade.

Developed together with Boeing, GLSDB is a combination of the Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) and Multiple Launch Rocket System M26 rockets. Both of these components are in stock and they have been combined for testing. This could mean that GLSDB munitions could be supplied to Ukraine fairly rapidly.

In fact, reported that the US is considering Boeing’s proposal to supply Ukraine with GLSDB. It is said that this could provide a relief as the problem of the lack of weapons might become too large for NATO members to swallow.

GLSDB missile warhead in its gliding phase. Image credit: SAAB

GLSDB missile warhead in its gliding phase. Image credit: SAAB

There are plenty of components to produce a large number of GLSDB missiles, which could then be used to deliver long precise strikes behind the Russian lines in Ukraine. GLSDB could be delivered to Ukraine as early as spring 2023. This is because the US has plenty of the SDB I glide bombs and M26 rocket motors. In fact, this solution was described as “cheap” as well as “precise”.

Ukraine has been asking for ATACMS missiles, which have a range of about 300 kilometers. These missiles would allow Ukraine to destroy key military infrastructure, warehouses, and command posts deep behind the enemy lines. The Crimean bridge may not even be a significant target – all kinds of military bases would be available for ATACMS to strike in the occupied Crimea. However, the US has been hesitant to provide ATACMS missiles as that kind of capability could provoke an unexpected response from the Kremlin.

The GLSDB has been in development for some time – this video from SAAB is 7 years old:

The GLSDB might be a nice compromise. While 150 km range is half of what ATACMS can do, it’s double of the regular range of standard HIMARS-fired missiles. Furthermore, despite being “cheap”, SDB I is a very precise weapon – it is precision-guided glide bomb that has been in production since 2006.

SDB I does not follow a ballistic path – it can be launched from a container and fly any direction. It also has an advanced GPS, which is immune to jamming attempts. SDB I is a very well proven weapon – more than 20 thousand of them have been made and around 10 thousand have been used in combat.

Whether these plans will become a reality, remains to be seen. But Ukraine could really use this kind of boos in range and precision. Hopefully, in spring we will get the news of thousands of GLSDB munitions going to Ukraine.


Source: , SAAB

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