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31 Jan, 2024 06:05

New long-range US bombs headed for Ukraine – media

Testing for the weapon was only recently concluded, and it has yet to reach Washington’s own inventories
New long-range US bombs headed for Ukraine – media

The US military is planning to provide Ukraine with its first shipment of a new, longer-range munition recently developed by Boeing, according to Reuters and Politico, which reported that the bombs could arrive in the country as soon as this week.

With the Pentagon recently wrapping up final tests for the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), the US is preparing a maiden transfer to Kiev, Politico reported, citing two officials and two others familiar with the discussions. The bombs can achieve a maximum range of 90 miles (145km), and will be “a significant capability for Ukraine,” one of the officials said.

”It gives them a deeper strike capability they haven’t had, it complements their long-range fire arsenal,” the official added. “It’s just an extra arrow in the quiver that’s going to allow them to do more.”

The US military declined to confirm the exact date of the shipment, though Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder said the bomb would be provided at some point under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). He added that Washington would “defer to Ukraine” as to the details of the delivery.

Developed jointly by Boeing and Saab, the ground-launched variant of the new bombs has not yet reached the US arsenal, which currently contains an air-fired version only. The weapon is said to have twice the range compared to the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) already used by Ukrainian troops, according to Reuters.

Citing several unnamed sources, the outlet added that testing on the GLSDB was completed on January 16 and saw six rockets fired over the Gulf of Mexico. The weapon could reach Ukraine as soon as Wednesday, and would be brought to the country by air transport.

In order to speed up deliveries, Boeing and the Pentagon reportedly agreed to an “expedited nine-month option,” under which the company bypassed the usual arms sale review ensuring that firms provide the lowest price possible.

Kiev has already depleted its small supply of its longest-range bomb to date, the US-made ATACMS missile, and has repeatedly called for additional weapons from foreign sponsors. While the GLSDB packs less power than the ATACMS, its superior range and cheaper production cost could enable deeper and more frequent strikes on Russian territory.

Moscow has denounced previous attacks on civilian infrastructure as acts of “terrorism,” and has called for an end to Western military aid to Kiev, saying the arms would only prolong the conflict and lead to more bloodshed without affecting the outcome.