The Pentagon is considering an offer from Boeing to supply Ukraine with cheap, low-cost, high-precision bombs mounted on existing missiles that would allow Kyiv to strike far behind Russian lines, Reuters reported.
Military stocks of the U.S. and its allies are dwindling, and Ukraine faces a growing need for more advanced weapons as the war drags on. Boeing's proposed system, dubbed the small-diameter land-based bomb (GLSDB), is one of about half a dozen plans to launch new munitions for Ukraine and America's Eastern European allies, sources said.
The GLSDB could be delivered as early as spring 2023. The system combines the GBU-39 small-diameter bomb (SDB) with the M26 rocket engine.
Doug Bush, the U.S. Army's chief weapons buyer, said last week that the Army is also considering speeding up production of 155mm artillery shells, which are currently produced only at government facilities, by allowing defense contractors to produce them.
The war in Ukraine has increased demand for U.S.-made weapons and ammunition, while U.S. allies in Eastern Europe are making lots of orders for a number of weapons they are supplying to Ukraine, Bush added.
Although several GLSDBs have already been manufactured, there are many logistical obstacles to official purchases. Boeing's plan requires a waiver of price disclosure, freeing the contractor from the scrutiny that ensures the Pentagon gets the best possible deal. Any arrangement would also require at least six suppliers to expedite their parts and services for rapid weapons production.
Although the United States rejected requests for an ATACMS missile with a range of 297 km, the GLSDB's 150 km range would allow Ukraine to hit valuable military targets that were out of range.