TechUkrainian MiG-29 debuts French AASM Hammer bomb targeting Russian forces

Ukrainian MiG‑29 debuts French AASM Hammer bomb targeting Russian forces

MiG-29 with AASM Hammer
MiG-29 with AASM Hammer
Images source: © Defense Express
10:33 AM EDT, March 17, 2024

The first photo of a mysterious Ukrainian MiG-29 equipped with the French AASM Hammer bomb has surfaced online, confirming that Ukraine's military has started targeting Russian positions with the Hammer, a weapon with noteworthy capabilities.

"This is the first photo of the MiG-29 of the Ukrainian armed forces equipped with a French guided bomb," reports the Ukrainian portal Defense Express. The publication examined the integration of the French bomb into the Ukrainian forces' arsenal and explored whether the new ammunition necessitated significant modifications to the aircraft. Besides the guided bomb on the suspended pylon, the MiG was also equipped with a fuel tank but carried no additional load.

Defense Express points out that the aircraft seen in the photo with the weapon indeed appears similar to the MiG-29 with mysterious pylons modified for unspecified armaments. It was discovered that these modifications were mounts prepared for carrying American JDAM/ER weapons. Based on this, it seems the adaptation of the MiG-29s for the Hammer bomb did not require complex changes compared to the setup for JDAM/ER.

It is important to remember that France announced the delivery of AASM Hammer aerial bombs to Ukraine at the beginning of 2024, with about 600 bombs to be delivered over the course of the year. The first documented use of the Hammer was observed in March.

The French weapon shares similarities with its American counterpart

The AASM Hammer (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire - Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) is quite similar in functionality to the American JDAM/ER. The French system is designed for integration with standard Mk 82/83/84 bombs, which weigh approximately 225, 450, and 900 kg (about 496, 992, and 1984 lbs, respectively).

Unlike the American system, the French variant boasts not only a guidance head and foldable wings but also a rocket engine, making it a significant advancement. This enhancement allows the bomb to be deployed towards its target even from low-altitude flights, easily covering a range of about 9 miles. Additionally, it presents a major benefit in terms of radar evasion thanks to the radar horizon.

MiG-29 with mysterious pylons spotted in a photo in June 2023.
MiG-29 with mysterious pylons spotted in a photo in June 2023.© Defense Express

Moreover, the AASM Hammer is versatile, being compatible with various guidance heads. The standard version, which uses inertial and satellite navigation, achieves shooting accuracy within a few meters. However, other versions of the guidance system are even more precise, offering accuracy up to one meter.

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