Ukrainian airmen used a high-tech French guided bomb called a HAMMER for the first time in Kyiv’s war against the Kremlin, sources on both sides of the fighting lines said on Tuesday.

The NATO-standard, precision-guided munition with the full name Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range (HAMMER) hit Russian positions geolocated to the frontline southern sector city of Kozachi Laheri on March 4, drone video published by the Ukrainian military showed.

Images published by the official government source showed a bomb with “For the children of Odesa” and “With hatred and without respect” written on it in Ukrainian.

The Ukrainian strike came less than 24 hours after a Russian Shahed drone struck an apartment building in the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Odesa, killing 12 including 5 children. Two of the victims were infants.

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The pro-Russia military information platform Voenniy Osvedomitel confirmed the fact of the attack and said a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 dropped the weapon with a French guidance kit attached to a 250-kilogram bomb.

Similar to the US-made JDAM, the Safran Electronics & Defense-manufactured upgrade kit attaches movable wings, a rocket motor, advanced navigation and targeting electronics to a “dumb” unguided aerial bomb, converting it into a precision-guided, stand-off weapon. At its most accurate, when laser guidance is used, the weapon is rated to reliably hit a meter square target at ranges in excess of 70 kilometers.

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The French defense magazine A&C confirmed the strike took place and that French and Ukrainian engineers had worked together to adapt the NATO-standard HAMMER bomb to use from a Soviet-era strike aircraft. The French report did not state the type of aircraft used in the Kozachi Laheri strike.

Macron’s about-face

French president Emmanuel Macron on Jan. 16 announced France would deliver 50 HAMMER systems a month over 2024. French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu in February said Ukrainian MiG-29 fighters and Su-24 frontline bombers would be adapted to carry the bombs.

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French crewman aboard the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle readies a Rafale fighter jet loaded with an AASM 250 HAMMER bomb.

Speaking after meetings with his Czech counterpart Pavel in Prague on Tuesday, Macron announced France would sign up to a European initiative to purchase artillery ammunition for Ukraine on international markets, and called on France’s European neighbors to commit more resources like HAMMER bomb kits, and national will to countering Russia.

Two years ago Macron was a supporter of resolving the Russo-Ukrainian war via negotiations. Now he is one of Europe’s most outspoken critics of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

“Who is threatening, whatever we say or do, to use nuclear weapons? President Putin. All of you, (you should) turn to him and ask him what his strategic limits are. But if each day we explain what our limits are, faced with someone who has none and who started the war, I can tell you, defeatism is stalking us,” Marcon said.

“We are surely approaching a moment for Europe in which it will be necessary not to be cowardly… We will have to live up to history and the courage that it requires,” he said.

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Macron on Feb. 27 threw down a gauntlet in front of the Kremlin – and creased foreheads in Berlin and other European capitals nervous about direct confrontation with Russia – with a declaration that Paris would not exclude deploying French troops to Ukraine.

Screen grab from Ukrainian army video published on March 4 confirming first use of a French HAMMER against a Russian target near Kozachi Laheri. The writing on the bomb reads: “For the children of Odesa. With hatred. Without respect.” The strike occurred one day after a Russian drone hit an apartment building in Odesa, killing 12 including 5 children. Kyiv Post could not confirm the munition shown in the video was the actual one used in the strike.

It was the first public suggestion by a leading European politician that European states should consider deploying their own forces into Ukraine. Putin, as part of nationally televised speech two days later, said that NATO “encroachment” into Ukraine risked triggering nuclear war and that Western troops entering the country would be “invaders” who would face “tragic” consequences.

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Macron on Tuesday doubled down on French soldiers deploying to Ukraine no matter what Putin and Russia felt about the idea, saying in part: “My comments [about considering deployment of French forces to Ukraine] were clear, thought out, and precise… War has returned to European soil. We have revealed how much military materiel we have already delivered, how much we have already spent. Is this our war, or isn’t it?”

Drawing of the French AASM/HAMMER 250 bomb enhancement kit. The “dumb” bomb is in the middle. Safran image published by A&C magazine on March 5.

In the wake of Macron’s late-February comments, some NATO states led by the US and Germany were quick to declare they had no plans to send their own troops to Ukraine. Officials in other countries, among them Lithuania and the Czech Republic, said they agreed with Macron’s argument that to counter Russian aggression NATO states should keep the possibility of force deployments to Ukraine on the table.

According to data published by its Defense Ministry, since February 2024 France through December 2023, France has donated more than $2.8 billion in military equipment to Ukraine, and another $1.34 billion of support to Kyiv to the European Peace Facility, the EU clearinghouse agency for military support to European states.

High-profile French hardware contributions to Ukraine’s military include unspecified deliveries of Crotale and Mistral missiles and launchers, both highly-effective short-range anti-aircraft systems. Paris also has sent 30 Caesar 155mm howitzers.

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Comments (10)

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MarkinTX
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Keep killing Russians in mass numbers. They will eventually give up and leave Ukraine like they did in Afghanistan where a bunch of goat herders defeated Russia.

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Incredulousiconoclast
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As soon as the previously unheard-of reform called 'common sense' is introduced in Europe, perhaps NATO will find itself some and eject the United States and its all its guns and toys and bases from the whole of Europe, at which point both the USA and Europe will be much more secure for the future. The relationship between them has been a failure and a fools' errand for quite some time, which is why the concept of 'divorce' was invented, and its attendant rationale of 'irreconcilable breakdown.'

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Juan
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Finally Macron unsderstand what really is going on and what will happen if Europe continues iddle..

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Kathryn
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Good on Prime Minister Macron! A realist and a hero badly needed for this time

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Joseph Swanson
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«Для дітей Одеси. З ненавистю. Без поваги».
Старий ведмідь помирає. Золотий лев встає.

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Nowa Jan
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Putin stupidly believes that UKRAINE AND NATO will chicken out before Ukrainian pilots will have and fly more than 200 F-16 and Rafael fighter jets. Putin's military is doing Hamas to overwhelm and destroy or defeat or weaken Ukraine's Air Defence Systems and Air Power. Putin will chicken out or will be forced to withdraw Russian troops from Crimea and Ukraine if NATO will provide all the precision-guided long-range missiles and other heavy weapons that Ukraine needs to massively strike inside Russia without delay-without mercy. Putin can't have it both ways-must be burning for burning 🔥 without delay-without mercy-without confirming or denying responsibility. "BE CUNNING AS A SERPENT."-Christ Jesus. Geniuses of NATO and Ukraine must figure out how to defeat or destroy Putin's military without delay-without mercy.

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darrenp
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The USA may not have formed if it wasn't for the French in the 1770's!
History shows that when the French step up, democracy prevails.

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Edmilson Almendra
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Macron is showing us his balls. (not literally, fortunately)

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Imokru2
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Hey Vlad, just a reminder that France and Britain have nukes also, so watch out that you don’t invite a bid mushroom pizza over Moscow.
It’s a nightmare vlad for you, wouldn’t you agree?

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John
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Thanks President Macron for stepping up your support of Ukraine. France has an impressive high tech weapons production industry and it is fitting it is stepping up now as the USA falters under putinrumps MRGA party's meddling.

Outside of Russias MRGA infiltrators which now handicap some democratic nations from doing what is right, the rest of the allies appear to be more tightly uniting. They realize the USA could remain and unreliable source of future military supplies if they cannot get rid of their MRGA menace.

It is a ridiculous proposition that a mass of Republican GOP is again pushing a lying, malicious, putin aligned criminal to once again be their president. It's been abundantly clear for many years now that he is not a friend of the AU or its other allies, but he is a friend of putin. The writing on the wall is clear. The EU must become its own MAD and conventional military power if it is to survive what Putin and putinrump have planned for them.

Strategically it would be worth defeating putin's forces now in the Ukraine, while at least USA intelligence support is guarantied.

PATRIOT
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@John, Ukraine sadly has no chances to win this war (assuming that in their minds the victory means regaining control over occupied territories like Crimea, Donbas, Luhansk). We can however delay russian victory and weaken russians for many years to come.

John
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@PATRIOT,

I absolutely disagree. Ukraine's chance to regain its territories rest to large extent in our allied support; something I work to elicit more of for them each day. As near as I can tell they are on the cusp of finally getting some of the most effective weapons that our leadership lethargy or fear deprived them of to date. Look at the miracles the achieve with our old stuff and their own wartime innovations. Astounding. Long range missiles and fighter jets should offer spectacular payback.

I fully support the Ukrainians who not believe in ceding an inch to the russian bully. Every russian invader they are willing to deactivate with our weapons is much appreciated by the free world. Certainly the best ROI on my nations foreign investment that I can recall since WWII.

As with Hitler, putins evil regime spreads death and mayhem across the world. They must be stopped and forced to make retribution.

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