TechMysterious Su-25 bomber with French AASM Hammer spotted in Ukraine

Mysterious Su‑25 bomber with French AASM Hammer spotted in Ukraine

Su-25 - reference photo
Su-25 - reference photo
Images source: © Telegram

4:31 PM EDT, June 10, 2024

A mysterious plane carrying weapons that were previously adapted for completely different machines appeared over Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian agency Unian, the Su-25 attack aircraft was carrying an AASM Hammer bomb.

Until recently, Ukrainians had only one aircraft model capable of carrying the AASM Hammer weapon. Initially, it was the MiG-29, but a few weeks after the first observations of this type of ammunition on Ukrainian aircraft, it became apparent that the defending forces managed to adapt the Su-27 to carry the Hammers.

As Unian reports, another aircraft has joined the list of machines capable of launching the AASM. An attack Su-25 with a French bomb appeared over Ukraine.

While this development is good news for the Ukrainian armed forces, experts caution that it may be a sign of dwindling stocks of unguided missiles. Due to the shortage of previously used ammunition, the military has been prompted to find another use for the Su-25.

Ukrainian Su-25 with French AASM Hammer bomb

The AASM Hammer (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range), recently observed on an aircraft not previously adapted to carry this type of ammunition, is a system generally comparable to the American JDAM/ER.

French technology is designed to integrate with standard Mk 82/83/84 bombs weighing approximately 500, 1000, and 2000 lbs, respectively. One key difference between this weapon and its American counterpart is the European tool's rocket engine, which significantly enhances the weapon's overall usability.

This engine allows pilots to drop bombs from low altitudes, a crucial feature for the Su-25 given its low operational ceiling. This capability further highlights another advantage of the French technology: the ability to hide the Hammers from enemy radar due to the radar horizon phenomenon.

Two navigation systems ensure the precision of the AASM Hammer: satellite and inertial. Some variants of this French weapon also feature even more precise guidance systems, with an accuracy estimated to be within 3 feet.

The Su-25 aircraft, adapted by Ukrainians to carry the Hammers, is primarily designed for frontline combat operations and to support ground troops from the air.

This is determined by its performance metrics – notably, a maximum speed of around 590 mph and a maximum operational ceiling of 23,000 feet. Due to these characteristics, it is an aircraft that can be quickly shot down, a fact confirmed by recent reports from the front, where both Russians and Ukrainians are losing these machines in significant numbers.

Although the Su-25 is relatively small, weighing about 22,000 lbs and measuring approximately 50 feet in length, it can carry armament weighing over 9,000 lbs. Moreover, it is very maneuverable, which aids in avoiding potential ground threats. Its basic version has a range of approximately 310 miles, necessitating flights close to allied military bases.

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