The Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range, HAMMER in short, or ASSM in its French acronym (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire) is an intelligent, all-weather, stand-off air-to-ground munition developed in the early 2000s by Sagem, now Safran Electronics & Defense. The latest version of this modular weapon was shown by the French company at the Dubai exhibition
The AASM Hammer is a modular system made of a forward guidance kit and of a range extension kit mounted at the rear of an air-launched dumb bomb. a frontal guidance kit and a rear-mounted range extension kit, installed on a dumb bomb.
Currently two versions are available, the AASM HAMMER 250, where the kits are fitted to a Mk82 or a penetrating 500 lb (227 kg) bomb, and the AASM HAMMER 1000, where the ordnance is a BLU 109 or a Mk 84 2,000 lb (907 kg) bomb. While the smaller one is designed to hit targets such as vehicles, buildings or fortifications, the bigger one due to its quadruple explosive loads is used to destroy bridges, airfields, ships or hardened targets.
In both cases the guidance kit is available in three different versions. The simpler one is an all-weather INS/GPS, which inertial element is based on Sagem’s HRG Crystal high-grade
inertial system that provides good accuracy even in GNSS-denied areas. The second one retains the INS/GPS guidance, adding an IR seeker with digital scene matching algorithms in the terminal phase; not only this further increases accuracy, but its design allows high angle of incidence attack profiles, which for example permit to precisely hit a single building in the roof. To cope with moving targets a third type of guidance kit is available, the IR seeker being replaced by a semi-active laser seeker, which will bring the ordnance with utmost precision on the target illuminated by the aircraft itself or by an external laser source.
Depending on the bomb weight, different range extension kits are available. These feature a rocket booster and four fins that extend after launch. An option without booster is also available for the 250 version only, which then becomes a gliding bomb, however the rocket propelled solution is that of choice.
While the AASM HAMMER 250 has been in service for over a decade ago and is fully combat proven, the 1000 kg version presented at the Dubai Airshow entered operational service less than a year ago.
Safran declares it is developing a new propulsion kit that will considerably increase range. Available figures for the current version call for a 50 to 70 km range, the latter obtained when launching from very high altitude, around 50,000 ft (15,000 metres). EDR On-Line understood that Safran intends to double or even treble the range up 150 to 200 km.
The AASM Hammer 250 missile is currently used by the air forces Croatia, Egypt, India, Morocco and Qatar. It is also in service with the French Armée de l’Air, which for the time being is the only user of the AASM 1000, the weapon being integrated on its Rafale fighters updated to the F4.1 standard. The UAE Air Force will receive its Rafale F4 from 2027 on, therefore the presence in Dubai of the AASM/HAMMER 1000 was fully justified as contracts for the weapons that will arm those aircraft have yet to be signed.
Photos by J. Roukoz