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Saab expects first contract soon for new GLSDB artillery weapon

The Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb combines an M26 ground-based rocket motor with an air-launched Small Diameter Bomb. (Saab/Boeing)

The Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), which Boeing and Saab developed to provide long-range, ground-to-ground precision fires, is close to lining up its first customer, according to Saab's chief executive.

“We are imminently, shortly expecting contracts on that,” Saab president and CEO Micael Johansson told analysts on 28 October.

Johansson did not elaborate, and spokespersons for Sweden's Saab and US-based Boeing had no immediate response to questions. However, artillery systems have received significant attention in recent months because of the important role they have played in Ukraine's resistance to Russia's invasion.

Boeing and Saab, which have been marketing the GLSDB for years, indicated at the 2019 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference that the weapon was ready to begin production. Saab announced in November 2021 that two Norwegian companies, Nammo and Nordic Shelter, had joined the GLSDB team, providing expertise on rocket motors and launchers, respectively.

The GLSDB combines an M26 ground-based rocket motor from the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) with Boeing's air-launched GBU-39B SDB. It has a range of 150 km (93 mile), can attack both stationary and moving targets, and can be “ground-launched from a wide variety of launchers and configurations”, according to Saab.

Johansson made his comments while discussing Saab's latest financial results. The company's sales rose 9.5% to SEK8.8 billion (USD799 million) in the third quarter of 2022, while its net income was unchanged at SEK324 million. Saab plans to release its fourth-quarter results in February 2023.

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