Taiwan has deferred purchasing the ground-launched small-diameter bomb (GLSDB) from the US due to Washington’s Ukraine commitment.
The US pledged to deliver the Boeing-Saab long-range precision munition to Ukraine in February as part of a $2.2-billion arms package.
The US explained its priorities to Taiwan late last year after being asked about the munition, Taipei-based Up Media revealed, citing sources.
The outlet added that the weapon entered its “initial mass production stage” this year, so production has not hit top gear yet.
Following the revelation, Taipei did not include the purchase in its 2024 budget proposal, the outlet wrote, adding that the purchase may go ahead after three years.
Targeting Chinese Fleet on Their Own Shores
Taiwan proposed the procurement to increase the range of its rocket artillery, which comprises the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).
The GLSDB’s range of 150 kilometers (93 miles) is almost double the GMLRS rockets deployed by both the HIMARS and the MLRS. This would allow Taiwanese forces to target an invading Chinese fleet on their own shore across the Taiwan Strait.
Taipei wants a three-layered land-based strike capability against a potential Chinese invasion, comprising the GMLRS (80 kilometers/50 miles), GLSDB (150 kilometers/93 miles), and ATACMS (300 kilometers/186 miles).
Precision Munition Features
The GLSDB is based on Boeing’s air-launched GBU-39 small-diameter bomb and is capable of hitting a target within one meter (3.28 feet).
The munition can engage a target from any angle, including reverse slope engagements.
The 250-pound (113 kilograms) weapon comes with an “advanced anti-jam GPS system-aided inertial navigation system, combined with a multipurpose, penetrating blast-and-fragmentation warhead and programmable electronic fuze.”