Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: AASM Infrared, Hammer IR AASM and SBU-64
MBDA and Sagem Defense Securite
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Description: The AASM (Armament Air-Sol Modulaire/ Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon) is a low-cost, modification kit for unguided or dumb bombs in order to convert them into precision guided munitions. AASM weapons will be available in different versions with the bomb's accuracy ranging from more than one to more than 10 meters. This new weapon will be released from safe standoff ranges of about 15 km released from low altitude to up to 50-60 km released from high altitude. The hybrid guidance system is based in a combination of GPS (Global Positioning System) and solid-state gyro Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) with night/day IR imaging terminal guidance being provided only for the high accuracy 1-meter Circular Error Probable (CEP) version.
The Kalman filtering system is the core navigation system of the AASM weapon and is based on the comparison of positioning data coming from the IMU and the weapon's GPS. Before the launch, the Kalman filtering system aligns with the aircraft's precision positioning system. For fighter aircraft based on aircraft carriers, the Kalman filtering system alignment is done with the high-precision navigation system of the aircraft carrier. After the weapon drop, the navigation system guides the weapon autonomously to the assigned target at the pre-programmed impact angle and speed. The target coordinates are programmed into the weapon's system during the flight plan using a mission planning system.
The AASM weapon is intended to engage multiple targets on the ground simultaneously from standoff ranges in all weather conditions. According to French sources, AASM weapons will be able to destroy any target present on the battlefield. In the early 2000s, the French Ministry of Defense placed an order worth €300 million with Sagem for the supply of 3,000 AASMs (1,500 one meter accuracy and 1,500 10 meters accuracy) to the French Armed Forces' Mirage 2000 (up to 4 AASMs) and Rafale (up to 6 AASMs) attack aircraft. The AASMs are deemed as the French counterpart to the United States Joint Services JDAM family of fire-and-forget, precision-guided munitions.
The fire-and-forget, one meter precision AASM features a GPS/INS-based guidance system with an infrared imaging terminal phase seeker to achieve such an impressive precision. It is fitted with MK-82, BLU-111 or CBEMS BANG 500-lb class warheads. The infrared guidance adjusts the weapon navigation to the true target by matching the imagery provided by the infrared sensor and the pre-programmed target imagery stored in the weapon's memory. The pre-programmed image could be provided by a surveillance satellite or airborne platforms. DGA started the AASM in-flight development phase with a Mirage 2000N aircraft releasing successfully an AASM with infrared terminal guidance bomb over the Mediterranean test range at Biscarosse, France, on July 12, 2007. The one meter precision bomb will be delivered to the French Air Force and Navy for use on the Rafale F2 multi-role fighter beginning in 2008. The Hammer IR AASM bomb achieved initial operational capability in July 2011.
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