The Egyptian Ministry of Defence has ordered AASM Hammer guided missiles for its 24 new Dassault Rafale fighter jets.
The contract was announced by Sagem (Safran) earlier this week. Sagem said it will deliver the first AASM Hammer missiles by the end of 2016, along with associated support services. The contract with Egypt covers all three versions of the AASM Hammer now in service: hybrid inertial/GPS guidance, inertial/GPS and terminal infrared guidance, and inertial/GPS plus laser terminal guidance.
Offering a range exceeding 60 kilometres, the 330 kg AASM Hammer missile will give Egypt’s Rafales a significant operational advantage, because of their ability to conduct all-weather, day/night precision ground strikes against fixed or moving targets, while also reducing collateral damage, Sagem said.
The Armament Air-Sol Modulair (AASM) Hammer (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) missile has been deployed since 2008 by French air force and navy Rafales. The missile consists of a guidance kit and a range extension kit. The kits are fitted with Mk 82 warheads, including smart bomb unit (SBU)-38, SBU-64 and SBU-54. The kits can be fitted to 125 kg, 250 kg, 500 kg and 1 000 kg bomb units.
Up to six Hammer missiles can be carried by a Rafale.
Egypt ordered a single FREMM frigate and 16 two-seater and eight single-seater Rafale fighters from France on 16 February. The multibillion euro contract also includes Mica air-to-air missiles and Scalp cruise missiles.
France is gearing up to deliver the first Rafales to Egypt, with three Rafales set to arrive on 25 July, according to daily newspaper Al Akhbar. Egyptian pilots are currently being trained on the aircraft in France. Another three Rafales will be delivered before the end of this year, according to a military source quoted by the paper.
The first three Rafales are currently undergoing flight testing at Istres in France. They were originally produced for the French Air Force but are being delivered to Egypt instead, after some French equipment has been removed.