The French Air Force has begun operational deployment of the infrared terminal guidance version (SBU-64) of the Hammer IR AASM modular air-to-ground weapon.

The air force has also carried out the first firing tests of the AASM under combat conditions following initial deployment.

The Hammer AASM consists of a guidance kit with an infrared imager and a range augmentation kit fitted to standard bombs, along with the standard hybrid GPS/inertial guidance systems.

The high-precision guided weapon, developed and produced by Sagem, is well suited to precision strikes against targets with uncertain coordinates and offers impact accuracy to within a few metres, even when GPS signals are unavailable.

The AASM reduces collateral damage, is capable of handling high-value targets, and neutralises enemy air defences from safe standoff distance.

The French armed forces will also receive a new version of the weapon with laser terminal guidance and capable of engaging moving targets in 2012.