US plans to supply long-range rockets to Ukraine

The United States is about to announce a aid package of more than two billion dollars for Ukraine, including the GLSDB guided rocket with a range of 150 kilometers, according to the unnamed official.

The United States is preparing the next package of military aid to Ukraine, worth $2.2 billion, and is expected to be announced this week, two US officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

The $1.725 billion in aid package will come from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which is allocated by the US Congress for the Joe Biden administration to buy weapons directly from corporations. defense rather than withdrawing from the US military’s stockpile.

Design of the GLSDB shell with the GBU-39 bomb mounted on the M26 rocket.  Graphics: SAAB.

Design of the GLSDB shell with the GBU-39 bomb mounted on the M26 rocket. Graphics: SAAB.

The funding from USAI will allow the United States to order the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) developed by Boeing, marking the first time Washington has supplied long-range rockets to Kiev.

The GLSDB combines the M26 rocket with the GBU-39 small-diameter bomb, allowing it to hit targets from a distance of 150 km with high accuracy. This weapon can help Ukraine hit many Russian targets outside the range of HIMARS rockets, in the context that Washington still refuses to provide ATACMS tactical ballistic missiles to Kiev.

An official added that the money from USAI also helps buy additional equipment for the HAWK short-range air defense system, anti-drone systems (UAV), anti-aircraft and anti-aircraft radars, communications equipment, Puma UAVs , spare parts for Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and Bradley armored vehicles. The United States also delivered medical equipment to three makeshift hospitals that were aided by allies to Ukraine.

About $400 million will be taken from the budget of the President’s Military Resource Mobilization Authority, allowing Biden to mobilize available equipment on the military payroll to respond to emergencies. This money will focus on mine-resistant armored vehicles (MRAP) and guided ammunition for HIMARS artillery.

The White House has not yet commented on the report.

The latest aid package brings the total amount of US military assistance to Ukraine since the outbreak of hostilities to more than $27.2 billion.

GLSDB is a cooperation project implemented since 2019 between Boeing and Swedish defense group SAAB. Manufacturer Boeing late last year proposed to start the GLSDB production line to supply Ukraine, in the context that the stockpile of weapons of the US and its allies is dwindling, and Ukraine increasingly needs more and more current guided weapons. grand.

The GLSDB ammunition is satellite-guided, can withstand some electronic countermeasures, and is operable in all weather conditions. The US has plenty of M26 rockets left, while each GBU-39 bomb costs about $40,000, making the complete GLSDB system much cheaper and more readily available than many US guided weapons.

Several GLSDB systems have been built, but there are many hurdles before US officials can order the weapon. Boeing’s plan requires the Pentagon to grant an exemption from the price research phase, a move that makes it impossible for the US military to conduct an assessment to ensure the most reasonable cost when signing the contract. The agreement also requires at least 6 suppliers to accelerate the delivery of components and support services to ensure the speed of shipment.

Vu Anh (Theo Reuters)

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