After India, Greece could equip its newly ordered Rafale fighters with the deadly HAMMER missile. Greece and Turkey are locked in a bitter standoff, and France has lent a helping hand by supplying the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) with its multirole Rafale jets.
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HAMMER (Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range) missiles are air to ground precision-guided missiles developed by Safran Electronics & Defense.
The missile is capable of hitting its targets accurately with a guidance kit and can never get jammed. Hammer’s real name is ‘Armement Air Sol Modular’, which later came to be called Hammer for sale in the markets of France.
The missile can be used on 125, 250, 500 and 1000kg bomb bodies and provides range greater than 50 kilometer, meaning it can be fired at a standoff distance. Its versatility allows it to be used at low altitudes, cross hilly terrain or veer sharply from the firing aircraft.
According to a report in Pentapostagma – the Greek news portal, the HAF pilots are training for Rafale fighters in France. From September 21, a large-scale training exercise was held at the 118th French Air Base in Mont-de-Marsan. The exercise involves 40 aircraft, including fighter jets, helicopters and drones, from Greece, France and Spain, claimed the report.
In July, India placed an order for the HAMMER missiles for Rafale jets under the emergency powers for acquisition given to the armed forces by the government. In the backdrop of India China conflict in Ladakh, New Delhi is continuously boosting its military capabilities following the violent clash that took place in June.
“The order for the HAMMER missiles is being processed and the French authorities have agreed to supply them to us at a short notice for our Rafale combat aircraft,” government sources told ANI. In view of the urgent requirement for these missiles by the Air Force, the French authorities would be delivering the missiles to India from the existing stock meant for some other customer, they said.
According to the developer of the missile, it is an autonomous unjammable interoperable modular device which utilizes leverages a range of guidance kits (INS/GPS, INS/GPS/Infrared and INS/GPS/Laser). It has been tested in numerous recent theatres and delivers an excellent cost/effectiveness ratio. It also enables “extremely accurate strikes”.
It is the same missile with which the Rafale jets struck the Turkish air base Al-Watiya in Libya on July 5. Reportedly, it was unclear whether France or Egypt carried out the strike as both the countries own Rafales and have shown contempt for Turkish presence in Libya.
Greece has also shown a similar contempt for Turkey’s energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean and has been preparing for a military showdown if it comes to it.
HAF will acquire Rafale fighters in the next year. The report stated that eight of the 12 used Rafale that will be acquired by HAF will come from the two French War Squadrons which are based at the 118th Air Base.
For long-range strikes, the French fighters are also equipped with the mighty Meteor missile. It is an air-to-air missile which can dramatically increase the striking capability of the Air Force.