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Update – Ukraine conflict: Russia reports interception of French-supplied AASM guided bomb

A file photo of AASM Hammer guided bombs (in their imaging infrared seeker configuration) of the type Russia now claims to have intercepted over Ukraine. (Safran)

Russia has claimed to have intercepted a Safran Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) Hammer launched at its forces in Ukraine.

Russian state-controlled media reported the claim on 6 March, quoting the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation as saying that ground-based air defences had shot down a single guided bomb “in the zone of a special military operation”.

The report came weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron said on 16 January that France would send AASM bombs to Ukraine as part of a wider support package that also included additional MBDA SCALP EG cruise missiles. If true, the TASS news agency report provides the first confirmation of their delivery and use.

When Macron pledged the AASMs to Ukraine, it had been suggested that their intended host airframe would be the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, given that it is not integrated on any aircraft type currently in Ukrainian Air Force service, while integration and drop trials had taken place on the F-16 in 2014. However, with the international ‘F-16 coalition' that is providing the aircraft saying recently that the first jets are not due to be delivered to Ukraine before the third quarter of 2024, it appears that the bomb is now being carried by another in-service aircraft type.

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