The Chairman of France’s Commission on Defense and the Armed Forces, Thomas Gassiloud said in an interview with the French free-to-air news channel LCI TV channel on Friday that work had started on the integration of the weapons system and the US aircraft.

The AASM “Hammer” (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire “Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range”) is manufactured by Safran Electronics & Defence. It is an add-on kit, that attaches a nose guidance section and a rocket-assisted tail range extension kit (REK), to standard 250-, 500- and 1000-kilogram aircraft bombs as well as the US BLU-109/B 2,000 kilogram “bunker buster.” This turns a “dumb bomb” into a precision-guided “missile.”

The REK gives the bombs a stand-off range of around 70 kilometers (43 miles) - for the 500-kilogram bomb – similar to that of the US Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER) bombs. There are three available guidance variants for the AASM: inertial and GPS guidance, GPS, inertial and laser guidance, and SBU-64 GPS, inertial, and infrared guidance versions; it has not been specified which are being provided to Kyiv.


The AASM Hammer can be carried on the F-16’s standard underwing weapons mounts that are used to carry the US Mark 82 bombs and other standard NATO payloads so no mechanical changes will be necessary.

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Gassiloud would not be drawn on the work involved but was probably referring to the software modifications necessary to match the aerial bombs into the F-16 fire control systems.

The Anglo-French Storm Shadow/SCALP missiles, required modified weapons pylons as well as innovative approaches to incorporate missile software into the on-board equipment of Kyiv’s Soviet-era airframes. It has also been suggested that standard iPads were used to provide an interface between Ukraine’s MiG-29s and Su-27s and Western-provided weapons.

The commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, published video footage in March that showed the first use of the AASM, on a 250-kilogram bomb, on which was written “For the children of Odesa – with hatred, without respect” in Cyrillic. At the same time, pictures were published showing a Ukrainian MiG-29 carrying two underslung AASM Hammers.


Sebastien Lecornu, France's Minister of the Armed Forces, announced in January that it was planned to provide 600 of the weapons to Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU) in 2024, on a 50 per month basis, as well as at least 40 more SCALP air-launched cruise missiles.

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