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French Rafale fighter tests new 1-ton ‘Hammer’ guided bomb

AASM Hammer test drop from Rafale fighter jet
Photo: Dassault Aviation

A new 1,000-kilogram version of the AASM “Hammer” air-to-ground guided bomb has successfully completed its first two inert separation tests from a French Air Force Rafale fighter.

The tests were carried out at the French defense procurement agency DGA’s Cazaux flight test center in southwest France.

Designed and built by Safran Electronics & Defense, the 1,000-kg AASM (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire – Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) features a guidance kit derived from the 250-kg version and a specific range extension kit. The 1,000-kg version has the same modular characteristics as the 250-kg version with the BLU109 penetrating bomb body and MK84 conventional body, as well as its close functional integration with the Rafale, especially for fire control system and configuration options.

The separation dynamics observed during the two firings were in line with simulations, according to Safran. These industrial validation tests were designed to check the correct sequencing of all components of the wing hardpoint and the weapon, as well as the wing deployment mechanism on the range extension kit.

Following the successful separation tests, the first live firing tests will be conducted in 2021 as part of the final development and qualification of the 1,000-kg AASM.

This new weapon will give the Rafale an enhanced strike capability, with payload configurations of up to three 1,000-kg AASMs per aircraft. Its standoff range is also extended, thanks to the integrated propulsion system.