Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafale Jet could be armed with AASM Hammer air-to-ground missiles designed by Sagem, a company owned by Safran.
“The order for HAMMER missiles is being processed and the French authorities have agreed to supply them to us at a short notice for our Rafale combat aircraft,” government sources were quoted as saying by ANI News on July 23.
The jets already come equipped with SCALP missiles with over 300km range, and Meteor missile Beyond Visual Range Missile (BVRM) with a range of 150km, according to reports.
“The HAMMERs would give India the capability to take out any bunkers or hardened shelters in any time of terrain including mountainous locations such as Eastern Ladakh,” the sources told ANI.
In April 2016, Safran selected OIS Advanced Technology (OIS-AT) as the Indian manufacturer of its AASM Hammer Bomb Guidance and Glide Kit.
“Considered to be the most advanced, precision Bomb Guidance and Range Extension kit, the AASM Hammer originally designed and manufactured by Sagem for the requirements of the French Air-Force and Navy on-board the Rafale aircraft, is intended to cater to requirements of the IAF's high precision munition requirements. The AASM Hammer has been extensively proven in combat, and the version that will be manufactured in India will be customized to specifically meet IAF requirements,” Safran had stated four years ago.
AASM “HAMMER” (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) Weapon
The air-to-ground modular weapon (AASM) "HAMMER" is an autonomous unjammable interoperable modular device which utilizes a range of guidance kits (INS/GPS, INS/GPS/Infrared and INS/GPS/Laser).
Safran claims the fire and forget missile can strike targets at Very short (0km) to very long range (from 70Km+ to 20Km+ depending on release altitude). It is made up of a guidance kit and a range extension kit fitted on a standard bomb body of the Mk80 series or the likes. This bomb body may be general purpose (Mk82, BLU111) or penetration (BANG). Capable of Close Air Support missions as well as deep strike missions, the AASM “Hammer” offers flexibility, to be completed with data link capability on-going development.
The weapon draws on Safran’s inertial components and optronics: Hemispheric Resonating Gyro, Intertial/GPS hybridization, and strap-down infrared imagers and associated algorithms.
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. The French military now use a new version with laser terminal guidance, capable of engaging moving targets. The AASM IR version features a guidance kit with an infrared imager in the nose cone, along with the standard hybrid GPS / inertial guidance systems. Adding infrared terminal guidance to the standard hybrid GPS/inertial version of the AASM, the Hammer IR proved to be particularly well suited to precision strikes against targets with uncertain coordinates, offering impact accuracy to within a few meters, even when GPS signals were unavailable. Missions are planned using Sagem's SLPRM mission planning and restitution system.