WASHINGTON — Boeing and Saab have teamed up to develop a Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) program, with three successful test launches of the new system completed last month.
The three tests, conducted at a range in Sweden, proved that the Boeing and Saab design could successfully launch a SDB weapon from the ground, sync up with GPS and guide the weapon to its target, opening up what Beth Kluba, vice president for Boeing Weapons and Missile Systems, called "all-angle, all-aspect attack."
The system essentially sticks a GBU-39B small diameter bomb, widely used by the US military and a number of international customers, on the front of a M26 rocket. The M26 is set to be demilitarized by 2018 under a set of cluster munitions treaties, meaning the GLSDB program would essentially be recycling an item that countries were planning to stockpile or scrap.
The weapon is designed to be launched out of a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), used by a number of US allies already, avoiding the need to design a new launch system. That MLRS can hold six weapons per pod, with two pods per vehicle.