MBDA Group announced that it only took “a few weeks” to modify these weapons to be compatible with Ukraine’s Su-24M tactical bomber.

France announced a new military aid package for Ukraine that includes 40 Storm Shadow or SCALP-EG cruise missiles, as well as hundreds of ASSM Hammer 1000 guided bombs. The AASM Hammer 1000 guided bomb is capable of long-range attacks like a cruise missile. This is an extremely powerful weapon when integrated into the Ukrainian Air Force’s Su-24 bomber, in addition to the SCALP-EG missiles.

MBDA Group announced that it only took “a few weeks” to modify these weapons to be compatible with Ukraine’s Su-24M tactical bomber. This contribution of armaments is considered a major asset for the Ukrainian Air Force, which seeks to increase its long-range strike capabilities and precision. The AASMs, known for their agility and extended range, will allow Ukraine to target distant objectives with greater accuracy, thus increasing their operational effectiveness in complex combat scenarios.

Besides the proven Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG cruise missile, information about the ASSM Hammer 1000 guided bomb is of great interest. It is known that the French company Safran Electronics Defense just introduced an improved version of the ASSM Hammer 1000 guided bomb a while ago, this is the latest achievement in the field of precision attack weapons.

ASSM Hammer 1000 is known as the newest model in the Hammer family. This is an improved version of the ASSM Hammer 250 model, which has been in use for more than 10 years. These French modular munitions are distinguished by their flexible architecture, allowing adaptation to various calibers and types of missions. Each AASM bomb consists of an unguided base body to which two key modules are added: a control module at the front, equipped with a satellite navigation system and/or a seeker head, and a set of X-shaped stabilizers with rudders for increased maneuverability. The design also incorporates a folding wing to extend the bomb’s range.

This modular design allows for remarkable strike precision, with a circular error probable (CEP) of 8 to 10 meters for coordinate guidance and 1 to 3 meters when using a seeker head. The latest versions include a small solid propellant motor to further increase the flight range, reaching up to 50-70 kilometers or more. Initially based on the American-designed Mk 82 bomb, the AASM has evolved to include versions based on bombs ranging from 125 to 1000 kg calibers, thus demonstrating great versatility and adaptability to different operational needs.

ASSM Hammer 1000 is designed to destroy larger and more solid targets such as bridges, airports, ships or protected structures thanks to the large explosive weight it carries. The French AASM bombs, known for their precision and versatility, are currently used by several countries, including France, Egypt, India, Qatar, and Morocco. In all these cases, the aircraft of choice for deploying these munitions is the Dassault Rafale, an advanced combat aircraft designed for optimal integration and efficiency with the AASM.

The Safran company is also researching and developing a new propulsion system that will significantly increase the bomb’s range. Currently, Hammer’s combat range is from 50 to 70 km, this parameter is achieved when the aircraft drops from an altitude of about 15,000 meters. Thanks to new developments, the range of the bomb is expected to increase to 150 – 200 km, that is, 2 to 3 times more than existing parameters and surpasses all products of other manufacturers.

The AASMs were designed for Western combat aircraft like the Rafale, while the Ukrainian Air Force primarily operates Soviet or Russian-origin aircraft. This implies either modifying existing aircraft, a potentially costly and technically complex undertaking, or acquiring new compatible aircraft. The successful adaptation of SCALP-EG missiles to Ukrainian combat aircraft, as demonstrated by the Ukrainian Air Force with its Su-24лю tactical bomber equipped with the French SCALP EG cruise missile, suggests a Ukrainian capability to integrate advanced Western technologies.

Besides the technical and logistical challenges, Advanced Russian anti-aircraft defenses, capable of detecting and intercepting targets such as guided bombs, pose a significant risk to the effectiveness of these munitions. The AASMs, although precise and capable of reaching distant targets, may be vulnerable to countermeasures and interceptions. Moreover, each mission involving the use of these bombs exposes Ukrainian aircraft, often limited in number, to increased risk against a well-equipped adversary.

In the latest development, Russia announced the successful interception of Storm Shadow cruise missiles attacked by Ukraine in the Kherson region on January 17. The incident occurred in the context of Kiev continuously launching a series of missiles and suicide drones (UAVs) against targets in Russian territory and Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine. The effectiveness of Russian air defense poses a challenge to Ukraine’s long-range weapons systems.

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