“It gives them a deeper strike capability they haven’t had, it complements their long-range fire arsenal,” the U.S. official said. “It’s just an extra arrow in the quiver that’s gonna allow them to do more.”
An Army spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The weapon, co-developed by Boeing and Saab, is made up of a precision-guided 250-pound bomb strapped to a rocket motor and fired from various ground launchers. The U.S. military has a similar version of the bomb that is air-launched, but a ground-launched version does not yet exist in U.S. inventory.
The extended range will put a new capability in Kyiv’s arsenal at a time when fighting along the front is in a stalemate, and as Ukraine looks for new ways to hit Russian forces and infrastructure behind the front lines.
The bomb will join other long-range weapons given to Ukraine over the past year that have allowed its troops to hit Russian logistics and naval sites in Crimea. While the new bombs don’t have the range of the British Storm Shadow or
the U.S.-made Army Tactical Missile System, it is arriving as Ukraine’s stockpiles of artillery and munitions are running low.
New funding for Ukraine is part of the $111 billion emergency supplemental that’s been stalled on Capitol Hill. Despite the fact that the U.S. has no new money to authorize weapons transfers from existing stocks, the U.S. signed a contract with Boeing last year to provide the weapon to Kyiv.
Ukraine will be the first country to use the bomb in combat, making it a critical test case for other countries that have been snapping up long-range munitions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
announced last February that the Biden administration was providing the new bomb to Ukraine. But before sending the new version, the U.S. military needed to test the weapon — and that took many months.
The Army oversaw the testing of the new precision-guided bomb before providing its stamp of approval to send the weapon to Ukraine, according to an industry source.
The air-launched version was created in 2019, but despite successful tests, Boeing and Saab did not make a sale until the U.S. decided to donate it to Ukraine as part of an aid package.