The French defense procurement agency (DGA) has performed a successful test firing of the AASM modular air-to-ground weapon, fitted with terminal laser homing capability, enabling the guided weapon to engage fast-moving surface targets. This firing test demonstrates the AASM Laser’s ability to offer 1-meter accuracy against high-speed, agile land or maritime targets.

The test was carried out at the DGA’s missile test range in Biscarosse by a production Rafale fighter deployed by the DGA’s flight-test center in Cazaux. The moving target was represented by a laser spot generated by a ground illuminator, simulating a vehicle moving at a speed of 80 km/h. The AASM was fired from an extreme off-axis angle (90°) at a range exceeding 15 kilometers. Using its algorithms for detection and slaving of the trajectory to the laser spot, the weapon maneuvered itself to hit the designated target, impact was at a very low angle, within less than one meter of the designated spot.

The basic AASM uses INS/GPS guidance. It can be enhanced with add-on terminal homing modules, using semi-active laser or Infrared (IR) guidance. Photo: Sagem

The first test of a laser equipped AASM was conducted in July 2010, dropping a 250kg weapon at a stationary target from a range of 25km. The laser terminal guidance version of the AASM is expected to enter volume production for the French air force and navy starting at the end of 2012.

Sagem is on contract to develop and qualify the add-on laser guidance for AASM, under a delivery contract for 680 guidance kits, part of a framework contract awarded by DGA in 2009, covering 3,400 AASM units for the French Air Force and Navy.

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