The US may be about to transfer long-range rockets to Ukraine
Design of GLSDB projectile with GBU-39 bomb mounted on M26 rocket. Graphics: SAAB

Washington is about to transfer to Ukraine GLSDB guided rockets with a range of about 150 km and can be fired from HIMARS rocket artillery, according to US officials.

Politico newspaper on January 30 quoted two unnamed US officials and two well-informed sources as saying that the Pentagon has successfully tested a Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) and will soon transfer to Ukraine a long-range rocket model. 

The US Department of Defense announced that it would provide GLSDB-guided rockets to Ukraine in February last year, but it need to be tested before being transferred to Kyiv. The process ultimately took nearly a year. Ukraine will be the first country to use this weapon on the battlefield.

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder refused to comment on the timing of the transfer of GLSDB for security reasons but affirmed that the US would continue to coordinate closely with Ukraine and its partners to ensure the supply of gas to Kyiv. Needed resources “as quickly as possible”.

GLSDB, jointly developed by two corporations, Boeing of the United States and Saab of Sweden, is a combination of M26 rockets with GBU-39 small-diameter bombs, which can be fired from HIMARS rocket artillery and the Launch Rocket System. (MLRS) The M270 series resembles the ATACMS family of missiles or fires from a separate launch system.

The GLSDB bullet is guided by satellite, can withstand some electronic suppression measures and can operate in all weather conditions. GLSDB has a maximum range of about 150 km, so it can attack targets deep in enemy lines. Although this type of rocket does not have as long a range as the Storm Shadows/SCALP-EG or ATACMS cruise missiles in service with the Ukrainian army, it will be a necessary addition to Kyiv in the context of its forces running out of weapons. Gas and ammunition due to a decrease in military aid from the West.

The US Congress is currently unable to pass a new aid package worth $61 billion to Ukraine due to opposition from Republican lawmakers, leaving the country with no budget to provide more weapons to Kyiv. The contract to deliver GLSDB bombs to Ukraine was signed by Washington with Boeing last year, so it is not affected by this situation.