With Western military inventories depleted due to the war in Ukraine, Boeing’s proposal is one of roughly half a dozen plans for getting new munitions into production for Ukraine and Washington’s other European allies.
Doug Bush, the US Army’s chief weapons buyer, said last week that the Army was also looking at accelerating production of munitions currently only manufactured at government facilities by allowing defence contractors to build them.
Mr Bush added that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove up demand for American-made weapons and ammunition, not just from Kyiv.
Depleting US stockpiles behind production rush
US allies in Eastern Europe are “putting a lot of orders” in for a range of arms as they supply Ukraine, he said.
The GLSDB combines the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with the M26 rocket motor, both of which are common in American inventories.
“It’s about getting quantity at a cheap cost,” said Tom Karako, a weapons and security expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Mr Karako said concerns over depleting US stockpiles are behind the production rush. Current levels are “getting low relative to the levels we like to keep on hand,” he said.
Boeing still faces some hurdles to its production of GLSDBs, including a Pentagon waiver to a price review.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman declined to comment on the production of GLSDBs for Ukraine but said the US and its allies “identify and consider the most appropriate systems” that would help Kyiv.
Russia postpones nuclear talks
It came as Russia indefinitely postponed nuclear weapons talks with America that had been scheduled for this week.
Officials from the two countries were due to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss resuming inspections under a New START nuclear arms reduction treaty.
The talks had been taken as a sign that both sides wished to maintain dialogue, even though relations are at their lowest level since the Cold War.
But the US State Department said Moscow on Monday “unilaterally postponed the meeting and stated that it would propose new dates”.
Meanwhile Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska paid a visit to Downing Street on Monday to meet with Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty.