French laser-guided bombs used by Ukrainian Air Force to strike Russian positions for first time

Hammer laser-guided bombs (Wikimedia Commons)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Ukrainian airmen have, for the first time in Kyiv’s war against the Kremlin, used a high-tech French-guided bomb called HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) to attack Russian troops, sources on both sides of the battle lines, sources confirmed on Tuesday.

The NATO-standard precision-guided munition struck Russian positions in the town of Kozachi Laheri, located in the southern sector of the frontline, on Monday, a drone video released by the Ukrainian military showed.

The footage showed a bomb with “For the children of Odesa” and “With hatred and no respect” written in Ukrainian. The Ukrainian attack came less than 24 hours after a Russian Shahed drone struck an apartment block in Odesa, Ukraine’s Black Sea port city, killing 12 people including five children. Two of the victims were babies.

Pro-Russian military information platform Voennii Osvedomitel confirmed the attack and said a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 dropped the weapon with a French guidance kit attached to a 250-kilogram bomb.

Similar to the U.S.-made JDAM, the kit made by Safran Electronics & Defense attaches mobile wings, a rocket motor, advanced navigation, and targeting electronics to a “dumb” unguided aerial bomb, turning it into a precision-guided aerial explosive. It’s even more accurate when laser guidance is used. The weapon is rated to reliably hit a square meter target at distances of over 70 kilometers.

French defense magazine A&C confirmed that the strike had taken place and that French and Ukrainian engineers had worked together to adapt the HAMMER bomb for use from a Soviet-era attack aircraft. The French publication did not specify the type of aircraft used in the Kozachi Laheri attack.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Jan. 16 that France would deliver 50 HAMMER systems per month by 2024. French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu said in February that Ukrainian MiG-29 jets and frontline Su-24 bombers would be adapted to carry the bombs.

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