It looks like the Ukrainian forces will be getting some new firepower in their fight against the Russians. The Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) is slated to be delivered to the country’s military – it’s so new that not even the US Army has it. The weapon’s deployment to Ukraine will serve as its first real test in combat, with other nations eagerly awaiting the results.
News of the GLSDB’s delivery to Ukraine was announced on January 30, 2024, with officials saying it could hit the battlefield as early as the next day. The new long-range weapon, developed by Boeing and Saab, is a precision-guided 250-pound bomb that’s strapped to a rocket capable of traveling up to 90 miles. The weapon is equipped with an Advanced Anti-Jam GPS System-aided Inertial Navigation System to ensure it’s able to hit its targets.
It’s anticipated the GLSDB will allow Ukraine to better penetrate deep behind Russian lines, with Saab describing it as “capable of reverse slop engagements and defeating multiple threats ranging from hardened facilities to soft-skin assets.”
At a time when the Russo-Ukrainian War is at a stalemate and the Ukrainian forces are beginning to run low on artillery and ammunition, it’ll give them the added firepower they’ve been requesting from the West.
In February 2023, President Joe Biden announced the country would be providing Ukraine with a new bomb that still needed to be tested by the US military, with trials completed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. According to the Eurasian Times, the testing is believed to have focused on the GLSDB’s ability to integrate with the launch platforms already manned by Ukraine, such as the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).
Speaking anonymously to Politico, a US official said, “It’s just an extra arrow in the quiver that’s gonna allow them to do more.” Russian officials said the transfer of the GLSDBs would be an “extremely dangerous” escalation of the ongoing conflict.
As aforementioned, Ukraine will be the first country to use the GLSDB in combat, with ground forces deploying it from launchers and acting as guinea pigs to see if it’s as effective as everyone is hoping the bomb will be. It should be noted that multiple sources have said it likely won’t be as powerful as the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) or Britain’s Storm Shadow.
It’s currently unknown how many units have been sent to Ukraine.