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India orders HAMMER kits for Tejas

Upgraded versions of India's Tejas Light Combat Aircraft are to be fitted with Safran's HAMMER bomb guidance kits. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

India has ordered Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range (HAMMER) bomb guidance kits from France's Safran to integrate into the upgraded Mk1A variant of the indigenously developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

An official source from Tejas manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) told Janes on 17 November that the state-run Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), designer of the Tejas, has recently confirmed a deal for an unspecified number of HAMMER kits.

The source said ADA is working on integrating HAMMER kits onto the LCA Mk1A, which can employ various types of guidance units and ordnance to strike ground targets such as hardened bunkers at stand-off ranges of up to 70 km.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) ordered 83 Mk1As, including 10 dual-seat trainers, in February for INR456.96 billion (USD6.15 billion), deliveries of which are scheduled to begin by March 2024 and be completed six years after.

β€œThe HAMMER systems on the LCA will not only give the IAF precision-attack capability with laser-guided munitions but also operational flexibility in the types of ordnance they employ,” said military analyst Air Marshal V K Bhatia (retd).

The IAF earlier ordered approximately 300 HAMMER kits for an undisclosed amount for its fleet of 36 Dassault Rafale fighters, which are being inducted into service.

These kits were procured to augment the IAF's operational preparedness in support of the continuing stand-off between Indian and Chinese armies along these countries' disputed border in the Himalayan Ladakh region that began in May 2020.

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