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French AASM Hammer Bomb Spotted On Ukrainian MiG-29

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Ukrainian MiG-29 AASM
Ukrainian MiG-29 carrying an AASM guided bomb. (Photo: unknown author via @Osinttechnical)

Few months after it was announced, we now have visual confirmation of the guided bomb being employed by Ukrainian MiG-29s.

An image of a MiG-29 of the Ukrainian Air Force, armed with a French-made AASM Hammer guided bomb, emerged online few days ago. The photo represents the first visual evidence of the weapon being used in the country after both Ukraine and Russia claimed the weapon was being employed earlier this month.

The image comes after French President Emmanuel Macron announced in January 2024 that the country will supply Ukraine with 50 AASM bombs per month and a total of 40 additional SCALP missiles throughout 2024. The deliveries reportedly started immediately after the announcement, but only this month the first use of the weapon was reported.

In particular, the commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, published the UAV footage of what was claimed as the first AASM strike, as well as an image of a 250 kg AASM bomb with a writing in Cyrillic saying “For the children of Odesa. With hatred, without respect”. Shortly thereafter, Russian officials claimed that they intercepted and shot down an AASM bomb.

The AASM “Hammer” (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire “Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range”) is a kit, consisting of a nose guidance section and a tail range extension kit, that can be applied to 250 kg and 1000 kg bombs (125 kg and 500 kg variants are under consideration). The kit is offered in three variants: inertial and GPS guidance, GPS, inertial and laser guidance, and SBU-64 GPS, inertial, and infrared guidance.

The weapon can be employed day or night, under all weather conditions, at stand-off ranges which can reach over 70 km when launched from high altitude. The AASM can also be employed effectively at low altitude (with Safran saying it can still reach stand-off ranges) and highly off-axis respect to the target, and has the ability to perform precision vertical strikes, much like many missiles’ top-down attack capability.

The weapon has been fully integrated on the Rafale, while it has been integrated as stand-alone system on the Mirage 2000, Mirage F1 and F-16. Because of this, it was expected that the AASM would be used by the F-16 once delivered to Ukraine. Instead, the weapon is being already employed by the MiG-29.

While the quality of the photo doesn’t allow to discern details, it appears that the AASM is possibly being used in conjunction with the same pylon developed to carry the JDAM ER bombs already delivered to Ukraine. For the JDAM ER, in fact, a special pylon was developed with an extension forward of the bomb attachment points, possibly housing an antenna or an emitter of some kind.

Stefano D’Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he’s also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.

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