WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is considering a Boeing proposal to supply Ukraine with cheap, small precision bombs fitted onto abundantly available rockets, allowing Kyiv to strike far behind Russian lines as the West struggles to meet demand for more arms.

US and allied military inventories are shrinking, and Ukraine faces an increasing need for more sophisticated weapons as the war drags on. Boeing’s proposed system, dubbed Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), is one of about a half-dozen plans for getting new munitions into production for Ukraine and America’s Eastern European allies, industry sources said.

Although the United States has rebuffed requests for the 185-mile (297km) range ATACMS missile, the GLSDB’s 94-mile (150km) range would allow Ukraine to hit valuable military targets that have been out of reach and help it continue pressing its counterattacks by disrupting Russian rear areas.

GLSDB could be delivered as early as spring 2023, according to a document and three people familiar with the plan. It combines the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with the M26 rocket motor, both of which are common in US inventories.

Doug Bush, the US Army’s chief weapons buyer, told reporters at the Pentagon last week the Army was also looking at accelerating production of 155 millimeter artillery shells — currently only manufactured at government facilities — by allowing defense contractors to build them.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2022

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