The Pentagon is on the brink of delivering Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) to the Ukrainian military, a move that is set to reshape the dynamics of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Sources familiar with the discussions revealed that Kyiv is set to receive the first shipment of Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB), a long-range weapon manufactured by Boeing, not yet part of the US inventory.
The impending delivery of Boeing’s Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) comes following successful tests of the long-range precision bomb, with deployment scheduled by January 31.
“It gives them a deeper strike capability they haven’t had, it complements their long-range fire arsenal,” the US official said. “It’s just an extra arrow in the quiver that’s gonna allow them to do more.”
The GLSDB, capable of striking targets up to 150 kilometers away, underwent rigorous testing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida before being cleared for deployment. The testing phase culminated in the firing of six GLSDB units on January 16 at Eglin Air Force Base.
It is believed that the trials were focused on evaluating the bomb’s performance, including its accuracy, range, and integration with Ukrainian launch platforms such as the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
The results of these tests played a pivotal role in green-lighting the GLSDB for immediate deployment.
Analysts anticipate that the GLSDB will serve as a force multiplier, endowing Ukraine with a formidable deep strike capability, thus bridging crucial operational gaps and augmenting existing long-range fire assets.
Developed through a collaborative effort between Boeing and Saab, the GLSDB consists of a 250-pound bomb coupled with a rocket motor, the ground-launched variant offers remarkable versatility and lethality on the battlefield.
The timing of both the delivery and subsequent deployment has been kept confidential to maintain the element of surprise. A spokesperson from the Pentagon declined to provide any information.
The exact number of GLSDB systems to be provided to Ukraine remains undisclosed, but the addition of any quantity of this long-range weapon will undoubtedly augment Ukrainian firepower.
How Will GLSDB Enhance Ukraine’s Capabilities?
Kyiv will be the first country to use the bomb in combat. This deployment will mark a critical milestone for Ukraine and will also serve as a litmus test for other nations amid heightened global tensions.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, there has been a surge in the acquisition of long-range munitions by various countries, positioning Kyiv as a crucial testing ground for advanced military capabilities.
The GLSDB’s extended range and precision strike capabilities are expected to provide a key strategic advantage to Ukrainian forces, particularly as the conflict along the front lines reaches a stalemate.
Furthermore, the potential deployment of the GLSDB comes at a pivotal moment for Ukraine, as it seeks ways to target Russian forces and infrastructure beyond the front lines.
With the bomb offering twice the range of current rockets deployed via the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), Ukrainian military planners anticipate being able to strike deep into enemy territory, potentially forcing Russia to relocate vital supplies further away from the front lines to evade Ukrainian attacks.
The weapon will also complement the array of long-range munitions provided to Ukraine over the past year. This will enable Ukrainian troops to target critical Russian logistics and naval facilities, particularly in Crimea.
While the GLSDB may not match the range of counterparts like the British Storm Shadow or the US-made Army Tactical Missile System, its ground-launch capability eliminates the need for aircraft in launch operations near the front lines.
Moreover, for the US government, the decision to furnish Ukraine with the GLSDB represents an alternative to the ATACMS missile, which has so far been supplied in limited quantities. The existing supply of ATACMS has been depleted through use in previous operations.
Although these bombs are not as powerful as the ATACMS, they present notable advantages—they are more cost-effective, compact, and simpler to deploy.
Despite the absence of new funds available for authorizing weapons transfers from existing stocks, the United States inked a contract with Boeing last year to supply the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) to Ukraine.
Besides all these advantages, the deployment of the GLSDB to Ukraine not only serves the interests of the US and Ukraine but also represents a major opportunity for Boeing and Saab, the manufacturers of the weapon system.
As a newly developed weapon system, the effective use of the GLSDB by Ukraine would showcase its performance in combat and will affirm the capabilities and trustworthiness of Boeing and Saab’s technologyyy.