A French Air Force Rafale has fired an AASM-guided bomb and a Mica air-to-air missile in the same mission for the first time, demonstrating the aircraft’s operational flexibility.

The Rafale belonging to the French Air Force’s trials unit, fired an air-ground modular weapon (AASM-IIR) equipped with an infrared imaging (IIR) homing head to engage a ground target.

The AASM-IIR, an improved variant of the AASM inertial guidance hybridised GPS-guided bomb, successfully hit the target area after travelling 30 miles from the point of firing.

The guided bomb allows the Rafale to remain outside the effective range of enemy defences and simultaneously fly close air support and deep strike missions.

The air-ground weapon was followed by a missile interception, combat and self defence (Mica EM) air-to-air missile fitted with a radar homing head that hit a remote-controlled target simulating an aerial threat.

The firings demonstrate the Rafale’s ability to deliver long-range precision weapons while retaining its self-defence capabilities against aerial threats.

The air force trials unit is scheduled to deliver the AASM-IIR to operational units in early 2010.