AASM: from precision guided munitions to smart weapons
The AASM (in French, Modular Air-to-Ground Weapon) is a family of new-generation smart air-to-ground weapons. All the variants of the family can be fired from a standoff distance and can be fire-and-forget. Depending on each variant, the AASM can strike a fixed or moving target with extremely high precision, both day and night, under all conditions. Interoperable and combat proven, the AASM meets all the spectrum of Air Forces’ needs at the tactical level.
The AASM is made up of guidance and range extension kits that transform a standard bomb body into a smart weapon. Its engine provides it with range greater than 50km, meaning it can be fired at a standoff distance. Autonomous after it has been dropped, it can be used at low altitudes, cross hilly terrain or veer sharply from the firing aircraft.
The AASM’s modularity allows it to be used on 125, 250, 500 and 1000kg bomb bodies and have several guidance kits according to the mission: INS/GPS, INS/GPS/infrared and INS/GPS/laser. The infrared imager version overcomes target coordinate errors by undertaking a terminal correction just before impact, and the laser version can be used to strike highly mobile targets.
The AASM-250 is operational in the French Air Force in overseas operations and has been successfully used in combat on the Rafale since 2008. The AASM-125 was successfully tested in February 2009 on a Mirage 2000. The AASM-1000 is under development, as are new features such as airburst and data link.
Thanks to its ease of use, maneuverability and its vertical strike capability, the AASM covers all offensive air missions: in-depth attacks, Air Interdiction, Close Air Support (including in urban environments), SEAD-type or anti-ship special missions, etc. The AASM is programmed with target coordinates and can be reprogrammed in flight, enabling it to engage several targets simultaneously (up to six in the case of the Rafale.)
The AASM is also commercialized by MBDA as part of its comprehensive weapons offer, which aims to meet the needs of international air forces.
- Guidance: INS/GPS, INS/GPS/IR and INS/GPS/laser
- Range: >50km at high altitudes, >15km at low altitudes
- Standoff firing
- Precision: <10 meters in INS/GPS and <5 meters in INS/GPS/IR or laser
- Multi-target capability
- Vertical strike capability, impact angle parameters can be defined by pilot
- High maneuverability and capability of veering sharply