The Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon or AASM) air-to-ground weapon is formidable in its 250-kg size. At four times that size, it is an even more dangerous weapon system. Designed and produced by Safran Electronics & Defense, the latest version of the weapon and its large bomb body, at 1000 kg, leverages numerous electronic technologies from the firm’s basic 250-kg version for enhanced range and accuracy. Known as the “Hammer,” the aircraft-launched weapon system uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation system and can be equipped with infrared (IR) homing and laser guidance. Two recent inert separation/launch tests from a Rafale fighter aircraft near the Cazaux flight test center in southwest France were used to validate the proper sequencing of components within the large, 1000-kg version of the guided bomb system. The first live firing tests of the AASM will be performed in 2021, with qualification of the weapons system planned for 2022.
The 1000-kg AASM version (see figure) has a BLU109 penetrating bomb body and MK84 conventional body like the smaller variant of the weapons system, along with functional compatibility with the Rafale F4 aircraft from Dassault Aviation and its fire-control system. Each Rafale fighter can carry and control as many as three 1000-kg AASM weapons. With an integrated propulsion system, the larger AASM has an extended strike range compared to the 250-kg version.
With its modular design and different available guidance systems, the large AASM weapon system enhances the strike capabilities of the Rafale F4 fighter. The guidance systems make it an unjammable system with autonomous operation. It has a strike range of greater than 50 km even when fired at low altitudes.