More Fire-Power to Ukraine, US Pledges Longer-Range Small-Diameter Bomb – GLSDB

Foreign Affairs

Washington: In a boost to Ukraine in the going conflict with Russia, the US February 3 announced it will send Ukraine the ground-launched small-diameter bomb (GLSDB), a weapon that can double Kyiv’s strike range, as part of its latest military aid package, worth $2.17 billion.

The package’s GPS-guided GLSDB from Boeing has a range of 93 miles and can be launched from mobile artillery systems like the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS. It comes after reports that Biden administration was considering helping Ukraine target the Crimean peninsula, which Russia has been using to launch strikes.

These bombs will give Ukraine “a long-range fires capability that will enable them, again, to conduct operations in defence of their country and taking back their sovereign territory in Russian-occupied areas,” the Pentagon’s press secretary, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, told reporters.

Asked whether the weapons would be used against Russian targets in Crimea, Ryder declined to say.

Funding in the package for long-term purchases includes two HAWK air defence firing units, anti-aircraft guns, counter drone systems and Puma drones. The package also for the first time includes unspecified equipment to connect all the different air defence systems Western allies have rushed to the battlefield and integrate them into Ukraine’s own air defences, to help it better defend against Russia’s missile attacks.

In recent months, the US has pledged medium- to long-range National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, and truck-launched short-range Avenger air defence systems; the Netherlands, Germany and the US are sending Patriot missile defence systems; Germany is sending medium-range IRIS-T air defence systems; and Spain is sending Aspide anti-aircraft air defence systems.

Ryder said enhancing Ukraine’s air defences has been a US aid priority as Russia bombards civilian targets, adding that Kyiv has done a “remarkable job” employing those various systems.