As Vladimir Putin’s onslaught continues, Kyiv is facing an increasing need for more sophisticated weapons.
But Boeing’s proposed system, dubbed Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), is one of about a half-dozen plans for getting new munitions into production for Ukraine and America’s eastern European allies.
The Pentagon believes GLSDB could be delivered as early as spring 2023, according to a leaked document.
Experts say the new system combines the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with the M26 rocket motor, both of which are common in US inventories.
According to the document, the Boeing proposal would see the weapon produced with small, folding wings that allow it to glide more than 100km if dropped from an aircraft and hit targets as small as 3ft in diameter.
Although the US has rebuffed requests for 300km range Atacms missile, the GLSDB’s 150km range would allow Ukraine to hit valuable military targets that have so far been out of reach.
It would also help it continue pressing its counterattacks by disrupting Russian rear areas.
And news of its possible imminent dispatch to Ukraine could not come at a better time.
For as millions shivered with no power and with snow falling, President Volodymr Zelensky yesterday warned Ukrainians to brace themselves for yet another wave of new rocket attacks from Russia.
With the energy crisis deepening and temperatures set to remain on or below zero all week, Mr Zelensky issued the stark alert if further impending attacks
In a televised address to the nation, he warned that intelligence suggested Vladimir Putin would soon launch a series of new missile strikes on his country.
And he again called on his defence forces and citizens to prepare for the attack.
The president said: “We understand that terrorists are preparing new strikes. We know that for sure. And as long as they have missiles, they won’t stop, unfortunately.”
Recent targeted missile strikes have devastated Ukraine’s energy infrastructure meaning millions are without power just as Winter starts to bite.
The World Health Organisation has reiterated United Nations fears that millions could freeze to death this Winter unless something is done.
“The key task of today, as well as other days of this week, is energy,” Mr Zelensky warned.
The President said the coming week could be as difficult as the previous week, when attacks on electricity infrastructure subjected Ukrainians to the most acute power cuts since Russian troops invaded in February.
“Our defence forces are getting ready. The entire country is getting ready,” he said.
“We have worked out all the scenarios, including with our partners.”
Sergey Kovalenko, chief operating officer of YASNO, which provides energy to the capital Kyiv, said the situation in the city had improved but remained “quite difficult.”
Ukrainian authorities are working round the clock to try to restore electricity and water services across the nation after recent pummeling by Russian military strikes that vastly damaged infrastructure.
But Mr Zelensky admitted that while millions have seen their power restored, millions more are still without heating amid freezing Winter conditions.
And the cold weather is now gradually boosting energy needs as repair workers race to fix wrecked power facilities, grid operator Ukrenergo said.
Electricity producers still cannot resume full power supply after Russia’s missile attacks last week and must conserve energy by imposing blackouts, it said.
“The consumption restriction regime is still in place due to a capacity deficit, which currently stands at around 20per cent,” a Ukrenergo spokesman said on Telegram.
Last week, Ukrenergo’s chief executive described damage on power generating facilities as “colossal”.
Meanwhile, fierce fighting was continuing in the east yesterday, particularly in the Donetsk region, with Mr Zelensky admitting the situation on the frontline was ‘intense’.
“The most difficult is in Donetsk region as has been the case in previous weeks,” he said.
Elsewhere, residents from the southern city of Kherson have been forced to head north and west in icy conditions to flee to safety after punishing, deadly bombardments by Russian forces in recent days.
The strikes have been seen as attempts at Russian retribution after Ukrainian troops liberated the city two weeks ago after it had been in Russian hands for many months.
Kherson regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said 17 per cent of people now had power, while other districts would be connected in coming days.