France tests nuclear air-launched cruise missile

France tests nuclear air-launched cruise missile

France successfully conducted the first evaluation test of the upgraded medium-range air-to-surface cruise missile, ASMPA-R, on May 22, 2024.

The announcement was made by Sébastien Lecornu, France’s Minister of the Armed Forces, who expressed his satisfaction with the test’s outcome.

The missile, devoid of its military payload, was launched from a Rafale B fighter jet of the Strategic Air Forces after a flight that simulated a nuclear raid. The operation, named DURANDAL, was executed over national territory and included a formation of A330 Phénix refueling aircraft and Rafale B fighters, which encountered simulated air-to-air and ground-to-air threats from the Air and Space Force.

Lecornu extended his congratulations to the personnel of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and the industrial partners involved in the project. The nuclear-capable missile, developed by MBDA, was tracked during its flight by the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) from sites in Biscarrosse, Hourtin, and Quimper.

This test marks a milestone in France’s commitment to maintaining its nuclear deterrence capabilities as outlined in the Military Programming Law (LPM). The ASMPA-R renovation program, overseen by the DGA, has enhanced the missile’s performance to ensure the credibility of France’s airborne nuclear deterrent in response to evolving threats. This capability will be sustained until the introduction of the next-generation air-to-surface nuclear missile, ASN4G, projected for 2035.

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