AUSA 2019: Boeing, Saab conduct long-range GLSDB firing

14 October 2019

The Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb is launcher independent and can be fired from a containerised solution as well as any launcher capable of using the M26 Launch pod container. Source: Saab/Boeing

Boeing Defense, in partnership with Saab Dynamics, on 26 September conducted a long-range test firing of the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) from the Andøya Space Center in Andenes, Norway.

The Andøya shot marks the third official firing event of GLSDB; earlier shots were conducted at the Vidsel Test Range in Sweden in March 2015 and - in co-operation with the US Army Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) - at the US Air Force Eglin Gulf Test and Training Range in Florida in 2017.

For the September test, GLSDB was launched in "challenging conditions" from a customised, fully autonomous ISO container, out to a range of 130 km at a pre-determined target area in the sea. "The Andøya Test Center is one of the very few, if not the only, firing ranges in Europe where we can fire at ranges out to 150 km," Svein Daae, Saab director of marketing, GLSDB, explained to Jane's .

"The target area was out in the open sea, where the depth is about 2,000-3,000 m, which makes it very difficult to anchor a target. Therefore, we decided to aim at a point in the sea, crosshair-designated by an overhead drone."

"We'd shortened the shot down to 130 km to ensure that we had very accurate telemetry data. Drone imagery from the shot showed that we'd hit the crosshair precisely, with a very high impact angle; telemetry data determined that, despite the conditions, including strong headwinds, we could have hit a target well beyond 150 km," Daae added.

In addition, the test was able to determine the effects of launching GLSDBs from a container, in terms of damage, test pressure, and incidental heat surplus. A typical containerised autonomous GLSDB configuration comprises two co-mounted launch pods - identical to those in the M270 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) - each with six GLSDB rounds.

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