France will supply AASM Hammer precision bombs to Ukraine

While the United States has been floundering in its goal to provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with military assistance, France has stepped up its commitments to Ukraine and promised to provide a powerful new weapon.

France is planning to supply Ukraine with a generous amount of high-precision aerial bomb kits that could prove to be a game changer for the embattled country. Here’s what we know about the kits and how many will be sent.

During a January 18th interview with the French daily newspaper Le Figaro, Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu revealed France would be sending its Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range kits to Ukraine. 

Commonly referred to by the acronym AASM Hammer or just Hammer, these kits are a lot like the American Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits that are already in use by the Ukrainian Armed Forces for use against Russia. 

France’s AASM Hammer kits are a type of modernization tool that turn unguided aerial bombs into a weapons with increased range and precision strike capabilities according to a breakdown of the French bombs by Defense Express. 

Two different types of kits were developed by French engineers. The first is the Hammer 250 KG, which can be fitted with an MK 82 bomb, and the second is the Hammer 1000, which can be fitted with the BLU 09 or MK 84 bombs. 

Newsweek reported that the AASM Hammer kits were developed to be a standoff weapon that is launched from the air at low altitudes and over rough terrain. However, there are two key ways the French weapons can help Ukraine. 

First, a standoff weapon is designed to be fired at a distance so that an attacker can escape the effectiveness of the weapon and enemy defenses according to Wikipedia, so the French weapon will provide a safer means of attack for pilots. 

“Hammer, like JDAM-ER before it, would give Ukraine’s Air Force a very valuable way of precisely engaging Russian targets, including those situated further back from the front lines,” explained The Warzone’s Joseph Trevithick. 

Trevithick added that the “stand-off range that Hammer would allow Ukrainian pilots to prosecute their targets while staying further away from enemy defense, as well” before noting the weapon’s rocket boosters gave it an advantage over the US JDAM-ER.

Second, Minister Lecornu noted in his interview with Le Figaro that the Hammer kits had been adapted so that they could be used with Soviet-era aircraft, which is critical since a majority of Ukraine’s Air Force is made up of Soviet aircraft. 

Minister Lecornu also said France would be sending Ukraine at least 50 Hammer units per month starting in January 2024 through to the end of the year. That means Ukraine will likely receive a total of 600 bombs for use against Russia. 

Ukraine’s MiG-29 and Su-27 airframes are the most likely candidates to be the aircraft that will carry the Hammer 250 KG model according to the Ukrainian military news outlet Military, which noted only the Su-24M could carry the weight of the Hammer 1000 KG. 

Depending on the mixtures of Hammer types sent, Kyiv may see a big increase in the range at which it can key frontline targets. Defense Express noted that the designer of the kits, Safran, says they have a range of 70 kilometers or roughly 43.5 miles.  

Newsweek reported that the popular pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Russian Military Informant described the French AASM Hammer as the “biggest threat” in a post on the news that France was supplying the weapon to Ukraine. 

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