The AASM Hammer is not just a bomb, but a modular air-to-ground weapon system using high-precision aerial-guided technology.

It has been in French service since 2007, but Paris announced the transfer of these bombs to Ukraine in early 2024, with the aim to deliver about 600 over the course of the year, equating to 50 per month.

French weapons manufacturers have signaled their capability to push out higher numbers – up to 90 bombs per month – which now just depends on a green light from the French government. Negotiations are already underway to increase production rates.

Features and benefits of the AASM Hammer

Developed by the French company Safran Electronics & Defense, the AASM Hammer is based on an ordinary unguided bomb, to which a kit is added, which turns it into a smart munition.


The weapon’s dual-acronym name comes from French – Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (Modular Air-to-Ground Armament) and English HAMMER – Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range.

The US Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range (JDAM-ER, or GBU-38) systems, which are also supplied to Ukraine, are built work according to a similar modular principle.

Other modular weapons include systems dating back to the mid-1960s such as the US Paveway series of laser-guided bombs (GBU-10/12/24/27) and the electro-optically-guided family of the GBU-15 glide bomb and its rocket-propelled sibling, the AGM-130 missile.

In general, the idea of creating guided aerial bombs is logical – with the development of navigation systems and the creation of a guidance module, it has become possible to create a hybrid of a missile with a conventional aerial bomb, which is characterized by hit accuracy and a relatively low cost compared to some types of missiles.

The modification of ammunition in the case of the AASM Hammer has many advantages over conventional aerial bombs:

  • During production, there is no need to spend resources on creating the bomb itself, since it is based on ordinary aerial bombs produced in large volumes
  • This means lower costs for the disposal of existing, traditional ammunition, which after modernization, acquire new qualities and properties and strengthen the defense potential of the country
  • This approach reduces the cost of the ammunition itself, because only the manufacture and design of the modification kit for the bomb is required
  • The modularity of such systems makes it possible to upgrade bombs of different calibers, as well as to install different guidance systems for "smart" bombs, depending on the type of combat task.

It seems that the developments of Western designers have pushed the Russian military to develop various types of planning or guided aerial bombs, which the Russian army is now actively using in its war against Ukraine. Although the Russian bombs do not have such hit accuracy, they can inflict serious damage to both military and civilian infrastructure.


Components of the AASM Hammer

The AASM Hammer in its basic configuration is a guided bomb consisting of three parts, including a nose-mounted guidance section, a tail-mounted range extension kit with winglets, and the bomb itself. Installing this upgraded system turns a regular 250-kilogram bomb into a guided bomb with a range of over 70 kilometers, depending on release parameters.

The AASM Hammer guidance system features an inertial system and GPS navigation, and advanced variants can have additional infrared or laser guidance for even greater strike accuracy.

Thanks to GPS guidance, the AASM Hammer can hit targets with a nominal or median miss distance of up to 10 meters. If laser guidance is used, tests have shown that the AASM Hammer hits a target from 50 kilometers with a nominal deviation of 1 meter. For reference, the Mk 82/BLU-111, a bomb of similar weight, has an elliptical error zone of 80 by 30 meters, depending aircraft parameters at weapons release, wind conditions and the aircrafts weapons delivery computation. Therefore, even the nominal deviation of 10 meters of the AASM could be much more effective against targets requiring somewhat more precision.


Value of the AASM Hammer to Ukraine

France is currently supplying Ukraine with AASM Hammer kits based on a 250-kilogram bomb, but there are already developed versions based on 125-, 500-, and 1,000-kilogram aerial bombs. So, if necessary, more powerful versions of these high-precision bombs can be supplied to Ukraine.

The AASM Hammer was primarily developed for French-based Dassault Rafale and Mirage 2000D fighters, but, due to standardization, other NATO aircraft can also use these bombs. In order not to wait for the supply of Western aircraft, Ukraine quickly adapted its MiG-29, Su-27 and Su-24 aircraft for use of the AASM Hammer, which has made it possible to destroy the enemy with these bombs now.

The transfer of such technological weapons is extremely important for Ukraine. The use of high-precision bombs with a flight range of 70 kilometers reduces risks for the pilots of the Ukrainian Air Force. Such a launch range keeps them at a suitable distance from the front line and allows them time to perform anti-missile maneuvers in the event of anti-aircraft missiles being launched at the aircraft. This is extremely important because of the small number of combat aircraft currently available in Ukraine.


The Ukrainian military has been successfully using the AASM Hammer since the beginning of March 2024. The first bomb was dropped on the occupiers at the Avdiivka coke plant. Subsequently, it was probably the AASM Hammer that destroyed the command post of the Russians in Kherson region.

Possible modifications

The attack range of the AASM Hammer depends on the speed of the carrier aircraft and its altitude. The maximum range of the bomb is 70 kilometers, and if the launch altitude is low – 15 kilometers. In 2022, a new range extension kit for 1,000-kilogram bombs was introduced, which can increase the range up to 200 kilometers.

The addition of a rocket motor makes the version to have a much longer range. This modification is supposed to extend the bomb’s range to 200 kilometers, but it is not known whether France plans to purchase and transfer systems with the rocket motor of the latest model. In addition, Ukraine would not mind getting more powerful bombs of 500 and 1,000 kilograms, similar to the JDAM family of weapons that already have 500 kg (GBU-32) and 1000 kg (GBU-31) models. Therefore, it is hoped that a decision on the transfer of other AASM Hammer versions will be made – all the more so, since information has already been announced about the possibility of providing Ukraine with French-based Mirage 2000 aircraft.

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