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French Nuclear Air-to-Surface Missile Tested, Ready for Production

The French government’s defense procurement and technology agency General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) conducted a “qualification firing” of the upgraded air-to-surface missile recently.

A Rafale test aircraft test-fired the nuclear-capable cruise missile, which was monitored throughout its flight by DGA Missile Testing center radars.

The second test-firing of the MBDA-made missile in less than two years paves the way for its serial production and subsequent commissioning in the French Air Force, Navy, and Space Force, the DGA stated.

Features

An improved version of the 80s’ ASMP, the ASMPA (air-sol moyenne portée) has been in service since 2009 in the air force and space force and since 2010 in the navy.

It was initially integrated onto the Mirage 2000N-K3 aircraft until 2018 and then on the Rafale F3R. 

The air-to-surface missile has a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles) and flies at Mach 3. It carries a thermo-nuclear warhead with a yield of 300 kilotons.

ASMPA Successor

Part of France’s airborne nuclear arsenal, a mid-life upgrade of the missile started in 2016 to “deal with obsolescence in advance and improve missile performance.”

The missile will eventually be replaced by the ASN4G or air-sol nucléaire fourth-generation missile, currently under development.

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