The U.S. is preparing a $2.2 billion aid package for Ukraine which includes the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) but has rejected the ATACMS missile for fear that Kyiv’s forces will use it to fire over the Russian border and spark a wider conflict.
The GSLDB offers a range between 70-140 km which is longer than that of the HIMARS and other artillery systems given to Ukraine by NATO countries.
Two American officials told Reuters that the package will be announced this week. Aside of bombs, it will cover delivery of Patriot SAMs, precision ammunition, Javelin ATGMs, mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS), HAWK air defense components, counter-drone systems, counter artillery and air surveillance radars, communications equipment, PUMA drones, and spare parts for major systems like Patriot and Bradley.
Part of this assistance would come from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) fund, which allows the Biden administration to transfer weapons from the industry rather than from U.S. stockpiles.
Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb
GLSDB ammunition was designed by Boeing in conjunction with SAAB. It combines a GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with an M26 rocket engine. The М26 rocket engine is said to be relatively affordable, and the production of a GBU-39 bomb costs about $40,000 per unit, which makes the GLSDB an inexpensive weapon. Its main components are easily accessible for production.
SDB is a 250-pound class weapon with an Advanced Anti-Jam GPS System-aided Inertial Navigation System, combined with a multipurpose, penetrating blast-and-fragmentation warhead and programmable electronic fuze.
Developers claim that the precision of GLSDB is so high it can hit within the radius of a car tire.
Structurally, the GBU-39 is a small guided bomb that weighs 130kg. An improved GBU-53 bomb, capable of striking and moving targets, was developed on the basis of this ammunition.
The GBU-39’s wings deploy in the air, which significantly increases the operational range.
This ammunition can use missile systems that Ukraine already has – namely M270 and HIMARS launchers.