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Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs On Their Way To Ukraine

According to Ukrainian media citing a high-ranking U.S. official from the Department of State, the Washington government has initiated deliveries of the promised GLSDB long range precision munition.

On Wednesday, January 31st, the Ukrainian media outlet RBK-Ukraine reported that the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, announced during a media briefing in Kiev that the U.S. government had initiated the delivery of the promised GLSDB (Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb) long range precision munition.

Image And Photo: Saab Defence and Security

Additionally, the U.S. official reportedly promised U.S. assistance in rebuilding the Ukrainian defense industry, which has been affected by the consequences of Russia’s aggressive war going on for nearly two years now. Earlier, the U.S. delegation met with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov.

However, the spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense, General Patrick Ryder, stated on Tuesday at the briefing that the department responsible for military aid to Ukraine is not ready to specify the conditions for the delivery of GLSDB. He added, “We will talk to Ukraine about any delivery.

On November 28, 2022, the Reuters news agency was the first to report that the U.S. Department of Defense is considering the proposal from the American company Boeing to supply GLSDB precision munitions to Ukraine as part of military support to repel Russian aggression. The projectiles, compatible with Western multiple rocket launchers, would be capable of targeting positions deep within Russian territory.

On January 31, 2023, Reuters reported again, this time citing two senior U.S. officials, that President Joe Biden’s administration is preparing to announce the delivery of GLSDB in the next arms package. Package number 31, which was discussed, was announced on February 3, 2023. However, the specific weaponry, at least by name,

On October 9, 2023, the manufacturers of this weaponry, Boeing and Saab, announced that deliveries should begin soon (according to Reuters, they were expected to be completed by the end of last year). A similar statement reaffirming this was released by the manufacturers on January 30 of this year.

GLSDB will be another long-range weaponry in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, following the delivery of long-range ballistic missiles MGM-140 ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) in late September and October 2023, as well as British MBDA Storm Shadow and French SCALP-EG cruise missiles (which are essentially the same type of weaponry but with different designations). Interestingly, Ukraine is also expected to receive controversial DPICM (Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition) cluster munitions.

As an interesting note, it should be added that even before the official commencement of deliveries, on March 28, 2023, Russian authorities claimed – without providing evidence – that their occupying forces had managed to shoot down Ukrainian GLSDB missiles.


The GLSDB long range precision munitions, developed in cooperation between Boeing and the Swedish company Saab Defence and Security, consists of the rocket engine of the M26 DPICM (Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition) ground-to-ground missile and the GBU-39B SDB I (Small Diameter Bomb) precision-guided gliding bomb, with a total weight of 270 kg. It can be launched from various Western-made multiple rocket launchers in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, including the M142 HIMARS, M270B1 MLRS, MARS II, and LRU.

The principle of operation is simple. The bomb is carried to an altitude of over 12 km and a distance of 17 km using the M26 DPICM, then it is guided to the target using inertial and satellite navigation (INS/GPS) with a SAASM module and switches to laser guidance in the final phase. The effective range is estimated to be over 150 km, and the manufacturers claim the possibility of extending it to 200 km.

The SDB I bomb is equipped with a penetrating blast fragmentation warhead weighing 93 kg, capable of penetrating 910 mm of reinforced concrete. The flight time is 8 minutes, which is why the use of data links for precision targeting correction is being considered for GLSDB. Both SDB I bombs and M26 DPICM missiles are common in the U.S. arsenal, especially since there are surplus stocks after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The GLSDB is being developed by both companies to increase the effectiveness of precision strikes at significant distances, especially for eliminating targets of strategic importance or those difficult to destroy with conventional artillery and missile ammunition. The estimated unit cost is $40,000 USD. In October of the previous year, Saab’s CEO, Micael Johansson, stated about the GLSDB: “We expect contracts for it soon.”

The first partial weapon test was conducted in Sweden in 2015, while a full-scale test was carried out in 2017 in cooperation with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC). The actual missile was publicly unveiled during the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris from June 11 to 16, 2018. Another test took place in Norway in October 2018.


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