An advanced precision guided air/ground weapon – Armament Air-Sol Modulaire, is developed by Sagem for the French Air force. The weapon dubbed ‘Hammer’, is designed in both glide and powered configurations, offering standoff capability exceeding 50 km when released from high altitude and 15km, in low altitude flight profile. AASM is designed to replace AS-30L laser guided missiles, and complement the Scalp EG, as a low cost weapon. The basic configuration uses a GPS/INS navigation kit, strapped to a standard 500 pound warhead (such as Mk 82 bomb). The initial configuration which will be fielded by early 2005, will offer JDAM-class precision, and all-weather capability, while follow on versions that are scheduled for fielding by 2007 will also include passive IR guidance which will offer an accuracy compatible with laser guided weapons. A laser-guided version of the AASM is also in development, enabling attack of targets of opportunity, including mobile targets.
In a first operational test conducted December 1, 2006 GPS/INS guided AASM was dropped from a Mirage 2000 N at the Biscarosse Launch Missile Test Center in the southwest region of France. The weapon was dropped at low altitude, high speed and under strong load factor, thus validating the AASM’s GPS/INS guided version’s performance in difficult, tight maneuvers.
In May 2008 MBDA France and Sagem Défense Sécurité signed a cooperation agreement shifting the sales and marketing of Sagem’s modular air-to-ground weapon (AASM) to MBDA. and infrared guidance for tactical missiles. Under the terms of the agreement, MBDA France will be responsible for all sales and marketing of the AASM family developed by Sagem Défense Sécurité. The two companies will also combine their respective areas of expertise to form a close partnership for the joint development of future versions of the AASM family.
Sagem has been awarded a contract to supply 3,400 AASM Air-to-Ground Weapons to equip the French Air Force Rafale aircraft. The order also covers the initial order of 680 weapons. This latest order follows the initial contract won by Sagem for 750 AASMs to be delivered to the French air force. The AASM has been deployed on Rafale fighters in Afghanistan for the last two years.
The basic version will integrate an upgraded, GPS module and be prepared to receive an Inertial/GPS and laser terminal guidance systems. The new multi-sensor guided version expands the AASM family, which already includes two versions qualified on the Rafale multirole combat aircraft, with inertial/GPS or inertial/GPS/infrared guidance. In particular, the new version enables precision strikes against moving targets. The AASM weapon family comprises kits and augmentation kits fitting 1,000, 500, 250, and 125 kg bombs.
Launched from standoff distance, day or night and in all weather conditions, the AASM offers a range exceeding 50 kilometers. The AASM can be released at low altitude, and can also be fired off-axis, in relation to the aircraft’s flight path. It offers very high precision and strikes its target vertically, a feature suited to asymmetrical conflicts. This makes it the perfect weapon for combat in difficult terrain or urban environments, for both planned missions and opportunity fire.