Ukraine has been impatiently anticipating the arrival of what it hopes will be another US-provided battlefield weapons system for almost a year.

The Boeing-Saab hybrid missile system the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) was originally slated to be delivered in spring 2023 but a number of technical issues pushed the expected delivery date back several times.

Victoria Nuland arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday, in what many saw as being a “rallying the troops” visit intended to ease worries that American aid could be drying up.

On Tuesday the US political journal Politico was announcing the imminent arrival of the GLSDB quoting its sources as saying weapon had been successfully tested and was expected to arrive on the battlefield as soon as Wednesday.

The visit and the news that GLSDB was about to land was probably no coincidence.

Advertisement

Nuland’s words of encouragement to Ukraine prefaced a promise that the US would continue “to provide Ukraine with support, including new investments, new weapons systems, such as the Small Diameter Bomb, which are already on their way to the front.”

Russia has reacted furiously to news of the GLSDB’s arrival in Ukraine.

Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said: “The irresponsible words by US officials are simply shocking. Confirmation today that another batch of long-range ammunition is on its way to the contact line essentially disavows any White House declarations about its willingness to put the conflict to an end as soon as possible.

HIMARS Blamed for Bloody Strike on Russian Unit Standing in Field to Wait for General
Other Topics of Interest

HIMARS Blamed for Bloody Strike on Russian Unit Standing in Field to Wait for General

If reports from both sides of the line are to be believed, hundreds of men from a Siberian infantry unit were standing in the open getting ready to be inspected by a Major General.

“On the contrary, the Administration’s actions indicate its intention to prolong the agony of the Kyiv regime. Even if this means new casualties, including among the civilian population of Russia and Ukraine.”

Why is Russia so worried about GLSDBs?

The GLSDB missile is a clever, post-Cold War Pentagon weapons idea that actually bore fruit.

It was originally an initiative taken by the two giant defense companies in consultation with the US Defense Department who were looking for an adjunct to the HIMARS rocket artillery system.

Advertisement

Boeing-Saab’s solution was to make use of the large numbers of the M26 227mm unguided rockets and GBU 39 small diameter 110-kilogram (250-pound) precision-guided glider bomb still held in the US inventory.

The biggest problems were how to marry the two munitions and engineer them to be able to fire from the existing M270 or a HIMARS launch platforms.

The final product has a range of 150 kilometers (93 miles) and can deliver the high explosive fragmenting warhead using a combined inertial guidance and GPS system to deliver it within 1 meter (3 feet 3 inches) of the target at which it can penetrate 0.91 meters (3 feet) of reinforced concrete.

The missile flies from the launcher to the target in a ballistic arc, then blows up. It carries a powerful 91-kilogram warhead.

Having apparently successfully overcome these earlier, unspecified, technical issues the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) will be the first users of the weapon in combat.

It represents an important extra string to Kyiv’s long-range attack capability allowing Russian rear area logistics and command areas to be hit by a more cost-effective weapon than the HIMARS.

Advertisement

The shorter-ranged M31 missile, which fires from the same platforms and whose delivery to Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU) in early summer 2022 devastated Russia’s ability to operate headquarters and ammunition depots near the front, is also uses GPS for its guidance system, but nothing detaches from it.

How effective is the GLSDB missile? What’s new about it?

According to open source reports the key advantage of the GLSDB missile, besides having roughly twice the range (150 kilometers vs. 80 kilometers), is low cost, reportedly $40,000, as compared to the $500,000 price tag for a single M31 missile.

Perhaps even more important for the intense artillery fighting in the Russo-Ukraine war, the US military’s conventional forces are no longer even fighting an insurgency, and it is likely that the US has tens of thousands of unguided 227mm rockets in its arsenals that could be sent to Saab for repurposing into glider bomb carriers.

Saab is an experienced and tested arms manufacturer with a history of building weapons that are easy to use and work in harsh environments. Although the GLSDB is not known to have ever been used in combat, odds are, it will perform in Ukraine as designed.

According to Saab, the glider can be programmed to approach a target from any direction, and from a variety of angles, making it more difficult to intercept, and giving the bomb better approach vectors for strikes on targets hiding on the far side of a hill or in a narrow valley.

Advertisement
To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments (5)

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Mark, A new split personality for you today MRGA troll? Is it Jack Griffen, Maddy, Arklahomboy...or are those also all the same person?



Doesn't actually matter. I'm happy enough to keep you all preoccupied on these forums.

As a foreign volunteer, I cost Ukraine nothing, but it gives me great personal satisfaction knowing I tied up a putin resource that could have been used elsewhere to more nefarious effect.

So tell me troll "mark".

How do you really feel about me? Show Ukraine's allied supports the calibre of the people we need unwaveringly help Ukraine defend against.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Mark
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

John = coward and piece of 💩💩💩💩

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Wael, 🐕💩. Too bad for you russian trolls that putin's fictional narratives are only believed your own country. The rest of the fully informed world has a much better grasp on reality.

Putin started this war under numerous false pretences and with genocidal intent.

Putin and the Russian people that serve him will now suffer the consequence of a growingly well armed, skilled, tenacious and justifiably angry victim. 



Any loan made by the allies to Ukraine to defend itself shall be paid in full by russia. 

You reap what you sow russian troll.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Perry
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

The article contains a mistake: The GLSDB does not follow a ballistic path. the initial launch is on a ballistic path; but, once the gliding bomb releases it flies a non-ballsitic path - making it very hard to shoot down even if detected.

All other HIMARS and M270 missiles follow a ballistic path and can be relatively intercepted by modern systems; which thankfully, Russia is rather short on having.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Wael
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Theses countries are upgrading their weapon inventories and selling weapons of value counting billions of dollars and Euros...
They would weaken Russia to have more influence over the world politically and economically...
This serves their interests and even if Russia can still sell oil and other commodities , theses global power are benefiting from the natural resources of Russia directly or indirectly as wars circulate money ...Hope that peace arrives sooner than later...

John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Wael, 🐕💩. Too bad for you russian trolls that putin's fictional narratives are only believed your own country. The rest of the fully informed world has a much better grasp on reality. Putin started this war under numerous false pretences and with genocidal intent.

Putin and the Russian people that serve him will now suffer the consequence of a growingly well armed, skilled, tenacious and justifiably angry victim.

Any loan made by the allies to Ukraine to defend itself shaw be paid in full by russia.

You reap what you sow russian troll.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png