Successful Qualification Firing: Laser-guided AASM Hits Moving Ground Target
(Source: French Ministry of Defence; issued Dec. 20, 2012)
(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)
France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) successfully completed on December 12, 2012, the final qualification firing of the laser terminal guidance version of the Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) precision-guided bomb.
This firing reflects the research and development efforts supported by DGA since 2005, including basic and applied research programs. The laser-guided version completes the range of AASM weapons that already includes GPS-inertial guided and infrared versions, both of which are in service with the French forces. More than 200 AASM weapons were fired by French Air Force and Navy Rafale combat aircraft Operation Harmattan [against Libya earlier this year.]
This latest firing took place on DGA’s Biscarrosse missile test range. The Rafale launcher aircraft carried a Damocles laser designation pod. The target, a remote-controlled 4x4 vehicle, followed a variable-speed trajectory. The weapon hit the target, which was illuminated by the pod, while it was traveling at a speed of 50 km/h.
This latest success follows a first long-range shooting at a stationary ground target, and a second shot at a target at sea, both also carried out during 2012 at Biscarrosse.
This firing completes the capability demonstration phase for the AASM Laser, which combines an ability to "stand-off" from the target with the capability of engaging fast-moving and maneuvering targets, both on the ground and at sea, with an accuracy of one meter.
The AASM kit comprises a guidance section and a range enhancement section which are fitted to standard iron bomb bodies. These add-on improvements allow the weapon to be fired at a safe distance from the target (over 50 km), outside the range of enemy air defenses, in all weathers and by day and night. DGA has ordered 380 units of the Laser AASM from Sagem (Safran group). (ends)
Last Qualification Firing Test of Sagem’s Laser-Guided AASM Hammer Missile Against A Moving Land Target A Complete Success
(Source: Sagem; issued Dec. 20, 2012)
PARIS --- On December 12, 2012, French defense procurement agency DGA successfully carried out the last qualification firing test of the AASM modular air-to-ground missile developed and produced by Sagem (Safran), in its laser terminal guidance version (NATO designation: SBU-54 Hammer).
The success of this firing test culminates the qualification phase of the laser version, allowing Sagem to start delivery of the first production-standard AASM Laser weapons to the French air force and navy, for operational deployment in 2013.
The last firing test was carried out at the DGA’s missile range in Biscarrosse, using a Rafale fighter operated by the DGA’s Flight Test department at the Cazaux air base.
The target was an all-terrain vehicle. Remotely piloted, it was illuminated by the aircraft’s Damocles pod during the final seconds of the AASM’s flight. The vehicle was traveling at different speed, reaching 50 km/h at the time of impact, when it was more than 15 km from the Rafale. The weapon was launched from the aircraft at an extreme off-axis angle of 90° and hit the target at an oblique angle.
Using its powerful algorithms for detection and flightpath slaving to the laser point, plus its excellent agility, the AASM hit the target with an accuracy of less than a meter. This performance qualified the complete laser firing system under typical conditions, with the target illumination being carried out by the aircraft firing the weapon.
This new GPS/inertial/laser version further expands the AASM family, which already counts two other versions qualified on Rafale: GPS/inertial and GPS/inertial/infrared. It features a laser seeker in place of the infrared imager on the latter version, and also has tracking algorithms which are activated during the terminal phase.
The AASM SBU-54 Hammer marks an operational breakthrough in relation to current precision air-to-ground weapons. It is capable of engaging moving land targets, or high-speed agile marine targets, with accuracy to within a meter (1), especially during opportunity strikes, as proven during recent conflicts (2).
The AASM Hammer family of weapons is developed and produced by Sagem. It comprises range augmentation and guidance kits fitted to standard 250 kg bombs, and eventually to 125, 500 and 1,000 kg bombs.
(1) During a test on April 21, 2011, impact was demonstrated on a simulated target moving at over 80 km/h.
(2) For Operation Harmattan, France’s contribution to NATO’s Unified Protector operation in Libya as part of the UN’s 1973 resolution, the French Air Force and Navy carried out 225 launches of AASM Hammer missiles from Rafale fighters (Defense Committee of the French National Assembly, report of October 4, 2011 – testimony of the Ministry of Defense), using the INS / GPS and INS / GPS / Infrared guidance versions.
Sagem, a high-tech company of Safran, holds world or European leadership positions in optronics, avionics, electronics and safety-critical software for both civil and military markets. Sagem is the No. 1 company in Europe and No. 3 worldwide for inertial navigation systems (INS) used in air, land and naval applications. It is also the world leader in helicopter flight controls and the European leader in optronics and tactical UAV systems. Operating across the globe through the Safran group, Sagem and its subsidiaries employ 7,500 people in Europe, Southeast Asia and North America. Sagem is the commercial name of the company Sagem Défense Sécurité.