Large quantities of HIMARS missiles could be delivered to Ukraine starting next spring if the Pentagon accepts the Boeing/SAAB plan to produce ammunition from cheap materials in the U.S.
It is looking increasingly likely that the Pentagon will accept Boeing’s proposal. This would mean that Boeing would work with SAAB to combine the large quantities of small GBU-39 precision bombs and M26 rocket engines available in the U.S. to provide Ukraine with a low-cost supply of long-range HIMARS-launched munitions.
Development of the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) system started in 2019 and was ready for mass production in October; this means it can be delivered from spring 2023 if the feedback is positive. Its range is 190 kilometers, double that of the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) currently in use.
Stocks are full of the necessary parts
The Pentagon has solicited half a dozen ideas from the defense industry on how to ensure that Ukraine and America’s Eastern European allies are supplied with military equipment in the event of a protracted war. Boeing’s proposal was the most well received by government officials, if only because the company has everything in place to implement it.
The withdrawal from Afghanistan has also left warehouses full of bombs and rocket engines for the GLSDB, which can now be used in the conflict with Ukraine.