New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In order to strengthen the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and increase its capabilities, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has placed order for France's HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) missiles that would allow the indigenously developed aircraft to hit targets and bunkers at stand-off ranges of over 70 kilometres with more accuracy and precision.

Government sources, quoted by news agency ANI, said that the HAMMER missiles would be provided by the French authorities at a short notice due to the "Chinese aggression" at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The sources said that the HAMMER missiles would allow Tejas to hit "bunkers or hardened shelters in any type of terrain including mountainous locations such as Eastern Ladakh". 

"The HAMMER missiles are in the process of being integrated with the LCA Tejas and it will significantly enhance its capability to take out hardened targets from stand-off distances," ANI quoted top government sources as saying.

The IAF currently has two operational squadrons of the LAC Tejas. It is looking to have four more squadrons of Tejas in the next few years to replace the ageing MiG-21. Tejas, a single-engine multirole light fighter designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is considered to be far more capable than the Pakistani and Chinese joint venture JF-17 and additions like HAMMER would make it more threatening and capable.

HAMMER, the medium-range precision-guided missile designed by France for Rafale

Armement Air-Sol Modulaire, which is popularly known as 'HAMMER', is a medium-range precision-guided missile developed by France's Safran Electronics and Defense. The missile was developed to use with Rafales and Mirage 2000s. The basic variant of HAMMER, which entered the service in 2007, uses a 250 kg bomb matched to a nose-mounted guidance kit and a rear-mounted range extension kit to hit targets.

HAMMER uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the inertial navigation system (INS) unit which allows it to be used in every condition. Another version of HAMMER, however, uses laser guidance to hit targets. So far, this missile has been used in the Afghan war and the Libyan civil war.

Specifications of HAMMER:

HAMMER has a mass of 340 kg and a length of 3.1 metres. It has an operational range of 50 km-60 km at a high altitude of 15 km. It has a unit cost of USD 2.10 lakh.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma