Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB)
Reuters reported 01 February 2023 that according to two U.S. officials briefed on the matter, a weapon called the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb with a range of 150 kilometers was part of the package expected to be announced as soon as this week.
With a range of 150 km, the ability to hit targets from different angles, and a precision so high it can hit the target within a radius of one meter, Saab and Boeing have together developed the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) – the rocket artillery munition designed to meet the evolving needs of the armed forces. It combines the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with the M26 rocket motor, both of which are common in US inventories.
Ground forces all over the globe are facing missions that require greater range than ever before. Saab has together with Boeing developed the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), as the solution for these requirements. The Ground-Launched guided munition offers high precision together with a long range.
Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb offers the exceptional combination of high precision and long range. The wide variety of available launchers makes a solution that can deployed in many situations.
The Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) is the warhead of the GLSDB. The SDB is a well-proven precision-guided glide bomb that has been in production since 2006. More than 20 000 SDB have been produced at Boeing’s award-winning, modern production facility in St. Charles MO, and 10 000 used in combat. Since the first SDB delivery in April 2005, every weapon has been delivered on time and at cost. It is well known for high accuracy and reliability. SDB has users all over the world, including the U.S. Air Force, the Norwegian Air Force, and thirteen other countries.
GLSDB builds upon Boeing’s highly successful SDB and existing MLRS rockets. The SDB I is a 250-pound class weapon with an Advanced Anti-Jam Global Positioning System aided Inertial Navigation System, combined with a multipurpose penetrating blast-and-fragmentation warhead and a programmable electronic fuze. Approximately 17,000 SDBs have been built.
Under a teaming agreement signed August 2014, Boeing and Saab offer GLSDB to current and future rocket artillery users. Designed to provide ground forces with an ideal combination of range and load out (6 rockets per pod) while adding SDB’s proven performance, precision, and flight maneuverability, GLSDB will provide many advantages to the warfighter.
GLSDB leverages the investment made by these Air Forces and provides a low cost capability for land forces. The SDB family of warheads provides a variety of ground launched solutions, with current variants for moving/re-locatable targets and ultra-low collateral damage. The SDB capability roadmap also provides for operations in GPS-denied environments, area attack and engaging energy emitting targets.
“The GLSDB is the ultimate solution for a customer that is looking for an affordable, high precision and long range solution”, says Svein Daae, head of marketing of GLSDB at Saab. Since the original version of SDB was an air-to-surface-solution, all necessary technology such as the navigation system lies within the bomb. The SDB navigates towards the target with INS Navigation that is supported by a highly jamming resistance GPS. Since the system does not need a ballistic path toward the target it is possible to launch the GLSDB from a container, and engage targets 360 degrees without moving the launcher. It is launcher independent, which means that it can be fired from a containerised solution, as well as any launcher capable of using the M26 launch pod container e.g. HIMARS, M270 and ChunMoo. The containerised solution can also be used onboard ships, providing GLSDB with the ability be fired from both land and sea assets.
GLSDB has the ability to fly non-ballistic trajectories and maneuvers to strike targets that cannot be reached by conventional direct fire weapons, such as reverse slope engagement. GLSDB offers land forces a truly mobile capability to hit targets that before have been out of their range. The system is Saab’s and Boeing’s solution for the needs of armed forces today and tomorrow.
In Feb. 2015, the companies conducted a series of flight tests of GLSDB in Vidsel, Sweden, that showed that the SDB can withstand a rocket artillery launch without compromising its performance. Boeing and Saab tested the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) by adapting the SDB to an artillery system. The GLSDB can reach targets from significantly longer distances, and engage hard-to-reach targets, while maintaining the Small Diameter Bomb’s flight maneuverability and accuracy.
Saab announced in October 2018 that the ground-launched small diameter bomb (GLSDB) had hit a predetermined target in the sea during long-range test firing at the Andøya Test Center in Andenes, Norway. The successful test launch was conducted by GLSDB developers Saab and Boeing on 26 September 2019. The GLSDB hit a target located 130km away from the fully autonomous launcher.
Saab business area Dynamics head Görgen Johansson said: “In collaboration with Boeing, we have developed a highly competent system that offers high precision at long range. We see a lot of potential in the GLSDB, since it provides armed forces around the world with a long-range artillery capability, which there is a great demand for.”
Boeing Weapons vice-president Cindy Gruensfelder said: “Boeing and Saab bring together deep knowledge of precision weapon systems and the ability to rapidly integrate and test solutions. Combining our companies’ expertise, experience and resources have resulted in an advanced, cost-efficient, supportable global rocket artillery solution that brings warfighters the level of capability needed to combat current and future threats in a joint force environment.”
By November 2022 the Department of Defense was looking at a proposal of Boeing to provide Ukraine with ground-launched small diameter bombs to help the Eastern European country counter Russian attacks. The Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) system could be delivered to Ukraine in spring 2023. Boeing's proposed GLSDB is one of about a half-dozen plans for getting new munitions into production for Ukraine.
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