The United States has responded to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s plea for rockets that can strike deep on the front lines of the nearly year-long conflict with Russia.
Now the Russian military must adapt or face potentially devastating losses.
A new weapon, the Ground Launched Small Caliber Bomb (GLSDB), ukrainian army It hits targets at twice the range that rockets fired from the current US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) can reach. If included as expected in the forthcoming arms aid package first reported by Reuters, her 151 km (94 mi) GLSDB would cover not only parts of Russia-occupied Crimea, but also Russia’s eastern part of the country. Keep all supply lines within reach.
This will force Russia to move supplies further away from the front lines, leaving its soldiers more vulnerable and greatly complicating planning for new attacks.
“This can be slow [a Russian assault] “Just as HIMARS has had a significant impact on the course of events, these rockets can have an even greater impact on the course of events,” said former Ukraine Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk.
The GLSDB is a GPS-guided gliding bomb that can be maneuvered to hit hard-to-reach targets such as command centers. Jointly manufactured by SAAB AB SAABb.ST and Boeing Co BA.N, the bomb combines the GBU-39 small caliber bomb (SDB) with his M26 rocket motor, both common in US stocks .
The US will provide Ukraine with a new launcher for the rocket, although it is not yet compatible with HIMARS, the sources said. GLSDB could be delivered as early as spring 2023, according to documents seen by Reuters.
vulnerable supply lines
When the United States first sent HIMARS launchers in June, it supplied rockets with a range of 77 km (48 miles). This was a huge boost for the Ukrainian army, allowing it to destroy Russian ammunition depots and weapons depots.
Military experts say Russia will have to keep supplies further away once Ukraine gets its new glide bombs.
“Currently, it is not possible to reach Russian military installations more than 80 kilometers away,” said Ukrainian military analyst Oleksandr Musienko. Your offensive ability will decrease.”
Importantly, Ukraine will soon be able to reach all points of the occupied land route to Crimea via Verdyansk and Melitopol. This will force Russia to redirect supply trucks to the Crimean bridge, badly damaged in the October attacks.
“Russia is using Crimea as a large military base, from which it will send reinforcements to its forces on the Southern Front,” Musienko said. “If we had 150km (ammunition), we could get there and disrupt the logistical connection with Crimea.
Beyond the logistical implications, adding long-range weapons to Ukraine’s arsenal could help shake Russia’s confidence.
Tom Karako, a weapons and security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Ukraine would benefit from even longer-range weapons, but GLSDB “gives Ukrainians a longer range, which the Russians speculate.” It’s a very important step to keep going,” he said.
No ATACMS – yet
For the Biden administration, the decision to send GLSDB to Ukraine represents a step toward meeting Ukraine’s demand for Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles with a range of 185 miles (297 km). Conflict escalation.
While glide bombs are less powerful, they are much cheaper, smaller and easier to deploy than ATACMS, making them suitable for many of Ukraine’s goals of disrupting Russian operations and creating tactical superiority. increase.
Still, Karako said Ukrainians could receive even more long-range weapons in the future.
“Time and again, I have seen the administration say that it will raise it up to a certain level, but not above it.” I realized that I needed to move on.”
This was the case with the Patriot missile defense system, HIMARS, and just this month, the Abrams tank, all of which were initially barred from entering Ukraine before the administration finally approved their shipment.
But for now, the focus will be on how quickly the new glide bomb can reach Ukraine, Zagorodnyuk said.
“If they speed it up…this could change the situation on the battlefield a lot.”
(Edited by Don Durfee and Peter Graff)