The Biden administration is expected to send Ukraine a sophisticated new weapon, the small-diameter ground-launched bomb, as part of a new $2 billion security aid package to be announced shortly.
The smart bombs can be fired from several missile launchers, including the US-supplied mobile missile system called HIMARS, which is already deployed on the battlefield in Ukraine. The bombs have a range of nearly 95 miles, almost doubling the range of Ukraine’s current most-distant warhead.
The move comes amid growing talks in Kyiv that Russian forces have massed in the east ahead of a major attack aimed at breaking the military standoff there.
“The increased range of the GLSDB glide bomb could allow Ukraine to hit targets that were out of range and help it continue its counterattacks by disrupting Russia further behind its lines,” according to Reuters, which was briefed on the deal .
Also included in the Aid Pack are support equipment for the Patriot air defense system and Javelin anti-tank weapons. At least some of the funding will come from a fund called the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows the Pentagon to secure weapons from defense contractors rather than drain military stocks.
The GSLDB is manufactured by Boeing and aerospace and defense company Saab AB. While it will help Ukraine hit Russian targets that were previously unreachable, the deal falls short of Kiev’s call for the army’s even longer-range Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), capable of hitting targets nearly 200 miles away.
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The Biden administration is reportedly still reluctant to deliver the ATACMS to Ukraine over concerns that Kyiv could use them to hit targets in Russia.
Russian officials have warned that shipping longer-range weapons to Ukraine would only prolong the war.
The decision to send the GLSDB to Ukraine comes shortly after the Biden administration recently made a U-turn on shipping the M1 Abrams main battle tank to Ukraine, and agreed to do so, as Germany also plans to ship its more numerous Leopard 2 tanks approved.
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