In July 2011 the French air force and Naval aviation began operational deployment of the infrared terminal guidance version (SBU-64) of the Hammer IR AASM modular air-to-ground weapon.
The new IR version features a guidance kit with an infrared imager in the nose cone, along with the standard hybrid GPS / inertial guidance systems. Following the initial deployment of the Hammer AASM, the French air force and navy carried out the first successful firing tests of this version of the AASM under combat conditions. According to Sagem, the new IR terminal guidance improves the Hammer’s capability to engage targets with uncertain coordinates, offering impact accuracy to within a few meters, even when GPS signals were unavailable. Missions are planned using Sagem’s own SLPRM mission planning and restitution system, already in service with the French air force and Navy.
Developed and produced by Sagem of the Safran group, the Infrared guided Hammer AASM is part of a family of air-to-ground weapons, comprising a guidance kit and range augmentation kit fitted to standard bombs. This makes the AASM a high-precision guided weapon with a range exceeding 60 kilometers. The GPS / inertial version of the AASM guided weapon, with 250 kg bombs, has been in service with the French air force since 2008, and with the French naval aviation since 2010. A new version with laser terminal guidance, capable of engaging moving targets, is now completing development. Following qualification by the DGA, it will be delivered to French armed forces in 2012.