Ukraine becomes testing ground for new US glide bombs

Boeing_GBU-39_Small_Diameter_Bomb. (Wikimedia Commons)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

All the indications are that the United States has started to deliver Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDBs) to Ukraine and that Ukrainian armed forces have probably already deployed these new weapons.

A new video claims to show the first reported use of the GLSDB on a Russian ammunition depot, although this information has not been independently verified.

The GLSDB is being developed by Boeing and Saab. The first news of its delivery to Ukraine came this February; the delivery had been delayed due to U.S. armed forces first testing the bombs.

The GLSDB is not a missile itself, but instead a kit that can be used to transform existing missiles and bombs that the U.S. already possesses.

Russian sources have also posted a video showing scraps of the missile kit.

One of the weapon’s major advantages is its range: the MARS and HIMARS missile launchers available to Ukrainian troops primarily use different variants of the M30 ammunition, with a maximum range of between 80 and 90 kilometers. Meanwhile, the new GLSDB can be effective up to 150 kilometers, as the M26 and the SDB separate when the fuel supply of the launcher runs out, and then the “smart bomb” opens its wings and continues as a glide vehicle, doubling its effective range.

The weapon is also notable for its lower cost than other missiles, while still being extremely accurate and able to hit targets within a 1-meter diameter.

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