The US is preparing another major escalation of military aid to Ukraine as Reuters reports the next arms package will include rockets that have a range of 94 miles, almost double the range of the munitions Ukraine was provided for the HIMARS rocket systems.
Citing two unnamed US officials, Reuters said that the US will provide Ukraine with the longer-range Boeing-made Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) for the first time as part of an over $2 billion arms package that could be announced as soon as this week.
The officials said that the GLSDB will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows the Pentagon to purchase arms for Ukraine. Weapons provided under the USAI could take months or years to deliver as they involve contracts and might need to be manufactured.
But Boeing has been preparing for months to make the GLSDBs for Ukraine. Reuters first reported in November that the US was considering sending the munitions to Kyiv and said they could be available by the spring. The system has been in development since 2019 and combines small-diameter bombs with the M26 rocket motor, which is widely available in US military inventories.
Sending the longer-range weapons risks provoking Moscow and comes after a series of new aid pledges for Ukraine that included the Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1 Abrams tanks for the first time. Each escalation of aid brings the US and Russia closer to a direct conflict, which could quickly spiral into nuclear war.
The new weapons package is expected to include $1.725 billion in USAI funds that will go toward the GLSDB as well as HAWK air defense systems, counter-drone systems, counter artillery radars, communications equipment, PUMA surveillance drones, and spare parts for Patriot air defense systems and Bradleys.
The package might also include $400 million for the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows President Biden to send Ukraine weapons directly from US military stockpiles. The drawdown package will likely include mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS), and other ammunition.