France Flexes Nuclear Muscle with Successful ASMPA Missile Test

Written by Henrik Rothen

May.22 - 2024 11:00 PM CET

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Foto: Shutterstock.com
Foto: Shutterstock.com
France successfully tests an upgraded nuclear-capable supersonic missile amid rising global tensions.

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France has marked a significant milestone in its defense capabilities by successfully testing the updated ASMPA supersonic missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

This announcement was made by the country’s Defense Minister, Sébastien Lecornu.

A Successful Flight Test

In a statement on the social media platform X, Lecornu confirmed that a strategic Rafale fighter jet from the Air Force executed the first flight test of the upgraded ASMPA missile.

“The Rafale fighter jet of the strategic air forces has just successfully carried out the first flight test of the updated supersonic nuclear ASMPA missile without a warhead,” Lecornu wrote.

This missile test was part of the Durandal military exercises, which are scheduled from May 13 to June 14. Lecornu emphasized that the successful launch underscores the reliability of France’s nuclear deterrence capabilities.

Context of Heightened Nuclear Tensions

France’s missile test coincides with military exercises in Russia’s Southern Military District, focused on the preparation and deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, these maneuvers aim to “maintain the readiness of personnel and equipment of units for the deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons to respond to provocations and ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state.”

The backdrop to these exercises includes a series of threatening statements from Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

Early in the Ukraine conflict, Putin placed Russia’s nuclear forces on “special alert” and later threatened the use of “all available means” to defend occupied territories in Ukraine. In early 2023, he suspended Russia’s participation in the New START treaty with the United States and announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

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