Air Weapons: French JDAM Enters Combat


May 1,2008: A French Rafale fighter dropped the first French made smart bomb, in Afghanistan, on April 19th. The bomb, an AASM (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire, or air-to-ground modular weapon) was about a decade in development. Like the U.S. JDAM, it is a GPS kit, attached to a 250 kilogram (550 pound) bomb, and delivers the bomb within 30 feet of the aim point. This kit costs $125,000 each (JDAM costs 75 percent less, but that's because many more JDAMs were purchased, thus spreading development cost over more weapons). The AASM program cost was over $630 million. The AASM entered service in 2006.

There is a second version of AASM, with an infrared (heat sensing) imaging system, that increases accuracy to within three feet of the aim point. This kit costs $171,000 each, and has comparable to U.S. laser guided bomb kits (which cost about $55,000 each.) There are also kits for 275 pound and 1100 pound bombs.

The French AASM dropped on April 19th hit the target.


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