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How will Ukraine use GLSDB long-range precision bombs soon to be in its arsenal? Column by Serhiy Zgurets

1 February, 2024 Thursday
11:20

The Pentagon confirmed that Ukraine will receive new long-range weapons. In particular, high-precision GLSDB guided bombs for HIMARS and MLRS launchers. This will allow Ukraine to destroy enemy fortified targets, bridges, air defense launchers and other weapons

Ukraine to receive GLSDB guided bombs: what they can do?

The Pentagon confirmed that Ukraine will receive new models of long-range weapons. In particular, high-precision ammunition for our HIMARS and MLRS launchers. At the time, Politico wrote that these weapons would arrive at the front line on January 31. The latest American GLSDB missiles are a project implemented by Boeing and Saab.

These missiles were tested back in 2015. As for the design of the missile, everything looks extremely simple. This missile is a combination of an aircraft bomb that is equipped with a planning and guidance system. Upon launch, this missile deploys additional wings and follows a trajectory to reach its target. The bomb is connected to the missile's wings through a specialized adapter device. This symbiosis has amazing capabilities. In fact, the missile has a range of 150 kilometers and a high accuracy of destruction; missiles can hit the target with a deviation of 90 cm. Additionally, these systems are impervious to electronic warfare, as the developers specifically addressed the challenge of creating munitions resistant to electronic interference. The missile's warhead weighs 90 kg, four times larger than that of the Himars. Lastly, the cost of this missile exceeds $60,000.

Initially, there was information about 25 bombs slated for transfer to Ukraine. However, plans are in place to produce over 700 such missiles within a year for Ukraine. Several news agencies have indicated that Ukraine will receive a significantly larger quantity of these weapons. Consequently, Ukraine could potentially receive anywhere from 20 to 700 GLSDB missiles. This capability will enable the Ukrainian Armed Forces to target and neutralize enemy fortifications, bridges, air defense launchers, and other weaponry.

I'd like to emphasize a crucial aspect as well. Presently, we are discussing weapons that can be partially assembled or produced in Ukraine. This holds significant importance for our country, particularly in terms of the engine for GLSDB missiles. Producing such an engine at our defense industry enterprises could substantially enhance the capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

FPV drones are replacing conventional weapons

Sergeant Oles Malyarevych of the Achilles company of the 92nd Separate Air Assault Brigade named after Ivan Sirko said that the company has now become a battalion of attack UAVs. This means that the UAV units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are very important on the battlefield today. According to Malyarevych, the Achilles UAV battalion is operating in the southern part of Bakhmut. The main task of the battalion is to support the infantry. The drones destroy everything that moves towards Ukrainian units. Malyarevych emphasized that today FPV drones are replacing conventional weapons. This is why there is an increase in personnel to carry out combat missions. He clarified that individuals interested in joining the battalion can find detailed instructions on Yuriy Fedorenko and Oles Malyarevych's social media accounts. Furthermore, he highlighted that 99% of his unit's personnel are civilians.

Operational situation in the Bakhmut direction

Oles Malyarevych also spoke in detail about the operational situation in the Bakhmut direction. According to him, the units are executing tasks in the southern part of Bakhmut, focusing on maintaining their defensive line. The mission is being carried out effectively, and there have been no reported losses of Ukrainian positions. Malyarevych further added that over the last day, they were able to improve their positions.

FPV drones' quality is the key to the effective work of UAV strike units

Oles Malyarevych said that the tactics of using FPV drones and UAV bombers are determined by the command of the units operating in certain areas of the frontline. It all depends on the specific situation. Sometimes a unit is tasked with suppressing artillery, conducting remote mining, or targeting enemy infantry trying to attack Ukrainian positions. 

According to him, the command swiftly determines the destruction of anything identified by intelligence and specifies the means to do so. Therefore, in the context of the "million drones" slogans, Malyarevych emphasized that the focus is not on quantity but on quality. Drones must be of high quality. Operators on the front line need to be familiar with all the drone models that they receive. New models must first be tested at a training ground to determine all their capabilities, particularly concerning compatibility with the ammunition already in use by front-line units.

According to Malyarevych, the unit endeavors to ensure that each operator specializes in a specific area. For instance, pilots handle drone flights, engineers are responsible for ammunition, technicians prepare vehicles for missions, and so on. This diversity in specialties, ranging from pilots to those managing paperwork, is crucial for the battalion. As Malyarevych stressed, the success of the battalion's efforts to neutralize the enemy depends on the collective contributions of everyone involved. He illustrated this with a recent task where the unit supported a brigade on the left flank, countering an attack by nine enemy vehicles. A team of four FPV pilots, led by a female commander, successfully eliminated all nine enemy units, including four tanks and five armored personnel carriers.

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