Bolstering the multirole capabilities of indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has successfully tested the AASM “Hammer” Precision Guided Munition from Tejas aircraft, reported Overt Defense.
Sources from HAL spoke to Overt Defense on March 29, during Defence Defence Services Asia held in Malaysia, on the subject of a planned test for AASM Hammer from Tejas aircraft. On April 29, it has been confirmed that a successful drop has been undertaken.
An acronym for Armement Air-Sol Modulaire Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range, AASM HAMMER is a product from Safran Electronics & Defense, based in France. The “modular” is available in multiple variants with varying ranges (15-70km), warheads (125, 250, 500 and 1000 kg), and guidance systems (INS / GPS; INS / GPS / IR; INS / GPS / laser). It is equipped with a booster that is triggered in the launch phase for an extended range.
The addition of Hammer is another feather in the cap for the aircraft as it has the ability to expand and further diversify its armament package. At present, the guided bomb inventory of the platform already consists of the Israeli Griffin Laser Guided Bomb. It was reported in November 2021 that an unspecified number of AASM kits were ordered by IAF to arm the Fleet of LCA. The same system is in service with the Rafale fleet, the latest fighter aircraft in the Indian Air Force which joined the organization in 2020, and a total of 36 airframes in active operation at present.
Alongside AASM, additional new munitions and systems are planned to be integrated and tested with Tejas in the coming months. It includes Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), indigenous Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW), and Astra air-to-air missile, added Overt Defense.
A wide array of weapon choices for an aircraft expands its scope for export, currently being aimed by New Delhi as well. Initially, Tejas Mark 1 had limited weapons at disposal, consisting of Russian and Israeli examples. However, abilities are boosted with the addition of new weapons with more planned to progress through the years.
Additional variants of Tejas are also planned to be rolled out, with Mark 1A being the latest, and the order for which was placed in early 2021 worth US$6.58 billion. The aircraft will feature modern fourth-generation combat capabilities with the inclusion of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Self-Protection Jammer, and more.