Boeing and the SAAB Group have conducted a feasibility test launching a Small Diameter Bomb (SDB I) GPS guided aerial bomb coupled to an M-26 roocket launched from an MLRS rocket launcher. The Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GL-SDB) allows the artillery system to reach targets from significantly longer distances, and engage hard-to-reach targets, while maintaining the Small Diameter Bomb’s flight maneuverability and accuracy. Last month’s test in Sweden showed that the bomb can withstand a rocket artillery launch without its performance being compromised. The rocket motor in the test was provided by Nammo.

Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), strapped to an M26 rocket, was recently tested in Sweden, under a joint Boeing-SAAB initiative to provide M26 MLRS with extended range, precision strike capability. Photo: SAAB
Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), strapped to an M26 rocket, was recently tested in Sweden, under a joint Boeing-SAAB initiative to provide M26 MLRS with extended range, precision strike capability. Photo: SAAB

“GLSDB combines two highly successful, combat-proven systems, the SDB and M26 rocket, into an effective ground forces offensive capability,” said Beth Kluba, vice president, Boeing Weapons and Missile Systems. “Boeing and Saab bring together deep knowledge of precision weapon systems and can quickly and cost-effectively deliver GLSDB domestically and around the world.”

Saab and Boeing signed a teaming agreement for the marketing of GL-SDB to current and future rocket artillery users. The goal is to enable customers to reuse the M26 rockets, currently loaded with cluster munitions that will be phased out by 2018, enforced by the international treaty banning the use of cluster munitions. The cluster munition packed warhead will be removed, reusing the rocket itself as a booster for the SDB, enabling the weapon to reach targets at ranges of 70-150 km with pinpoint strike.

“Saab and Boeing have a history of successful cooperation that now extends into yet another technology area – precision weapons systems,” said Görgen Johansson, President of the Dynamics Business Area within Saab AB. “Together, we now offer a new and game-changing capability for the U.S. as well as the global market.”

A proposed Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GL-SDB) will utilize the MLRS rocket to boost the SDB to a trajectory from where it will be able to continue gliding to its target like it was dropped from a manned aircraft.
The conceptual Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GL-SDB) will utilize the MLRS rocket to boost the SDB to a trajectory from where it will be able to continue gliding to its target like it was dropped from a manned aircraft. Photo: Boeing