Russia Should Be Alert, US Plans to Give Ukraine GLSDB Long-Range Missiles

Russia Should Be Alert, US Plans to Give Ukraine GLSDB Long-Range Missiles
Russia Should Be Alert, US Plans to Give Ukraine GLSDB Long-Range Missiles

Washington - The United States (US) is preparing military aid worth more than USD 2 billion for Ukraine. The aid was reported for the first time to include long-range missiles as well as ammunition and other weapons. This was disclosed by two US officials to Reuters.

"The aid is expected to be announced as soon as this week," the officials said. "(The assistance) is also expected to include support equipment for the Patriot air defense system, precision guided munitions and Javelin anti-tank weapons," they added.

One of the officials said part of the package, which is estimated to be worth $1.725 billion, will come from a fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows President Joe Biden's administration to source weapons from industry, not from US stockpiles. USAI funds will be used to purchase a new weapon, Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) made by Boeing, which has a range of 150 km.

The US had previously rejected a Ukrainian request for an ATACMS missile with a range of 297 km. The longer range of the GLSDB glide bomb could allow Ukraine to hit out-of-range targets and help it continue to press its counterattacks by harassing Russia further behind its lines.

Reuters first reported on Boeing's proposal to send GLSDB to Ukraine last November. At that time it was expected that GLSDB could be in Ukraine in the spring. The GLSDB is a missile co-produced by Boeing with Swedish aircraft company SAAB. The missile combines the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with the M26 rocket motor, both of which are common in US military inventories.

According to the SAAB website, the GLSDB is GPS guided, can defeat some electronic interference, can be used in all weather conditions, and can be used against armored vehicles. The GBU-39, which will serve as the warhead of the GLSDB, has small folding wings that allow it to travel more than 100 km if dropped from an aircraft and hit targets as small as 1 meter in diameter.

"USAI funds will also be used to pay for more HAWK air defense components, counter drone systems, counter artillery and air surveillance radars, communications equipment, PUMA drones, and parts for key systems such as the Patriot and Bradley," one of the officials said.

  There is also a significant amount of medical equipment — enough to equip three field hospitals donated by other allies," the official added. The White House declined to comment on the report. The contents and amount of the aid package could shift until President Joe Biden signs off.

In addition to the USAI funds, more than $400 million worth of assistance is expected from the Presidential Withdrawal Authority fund, which allows the president to draw from current US stock in an emergency.

The aid is expected to include mine-resistant ambush protection vehicles (MRAP), guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS) and ammunition. The US has sent about $27.2 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine since Russia's invasion in February 2022. Russia calls the invasion a "special operation".

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