Saab GLSDB Can Deter Russia’s Spring Offensive

Ground-launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) developed by a joint venture of American Boeing Company and Swedish Saab Group.

It has become known that the new aid package from the United States includes precision-guided GLSDB (Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb) bombs with a range of over 150 km. Such munitions can be fired from M142 HIMARS and M270 launchers. It should be noted that this news should upset our enemies, because now the Armed Forces of Ukraine will not only be able to hit targets at a distance of over 150 km, but will also replenish their arsenal of precision weapons for the already legendary HIMARS and M270 launchers.

The GBU-39 SDB (Small Diameter Bomb) was developed in the early 2000s specifically for the internal weapons bays of stealth aircraft. A constant problem with these aircraft is that they cannot carry weapons on an external mount without significantly increasing their visibility. Therefore, the idea was born to develop a small guided bomb (primarily small diameter) that could be placed in large quantities in the internal bomb bays of the Lockheed/Boeing F-22 Raptor.

The SDB bomb has a very narrow, elongated body, with wings folded on the back and mounts on the belly. The bomb is suspended under the aircraft in an inverted position, and after launch, it flips 180 degrees. Its diameter is only about 19 cm and its length is 1.8 meters. The bomb weighs 129 kg (285 lb) and is armed with 16 kg (36 lb) of high-explosive in a particularly strong steel casing, allowing it to engage armored and fortified targets.


The bomb is guided with high accuracy by a combination of satellite and GPS/INS inertial guidance: the possible circular deviation of the SDB is no more than 5-8 meters. The high accuracy of the bomb is not only a means of compensating for the low weight of the warhead, but also makes it possible to reduce collateral damage when used in populated areas. It is known that the SBD bomb was designed during the so-called war on terror, in particular with the al-Qaeda group. Due to its large wing area, the GBU-39 SDB bomb has a long range. Launched from a sufficient altitude, the SDB can plan independently for a distance of up to 110 km (over 70 miles).


Although the SDB bomb was originally designed for stealth aircraft, it has been used with conventional F-15 and F-16, AC-130 air gunships, and Predator drones. Four GBU-39 SDB bombs can be suspended in place of one standard 2,000-pound (907 kg) bomb, thereby allowing more targets to be attacked in one flight. At the same time, with high accuracy and with safe removal. The downside is the rather high price of such a bomb: $40,000 to $70,000 per unit. This is due to the fact that, unlike hinged guidance kits such as JDAMs (which are “put on” a conventional free-fall bomb), each SDB is a product with an integrated guidance and control system.

Currently, GBU-39 SBD bombs are being phased out of service and replaced by the more advanced GBU-53 Storm Breaker (SBD II) bombs, equipped with a tri-modal guidance system consisting of active millimeter-wave radar, semi-active laser guidance and passive infrared homing, and capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 110 km. However, more than 45,000 GBU-39 SBD bombs were produced for the war in Afghanistan, and more than half of them are still in stock in warehouses.

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