The Ministry of Defense of France announced on Friday the successful testing of a new nuclear, air-launched cruise missile.
The nuclear cruise missile weapon system, Air-Sol Moyenne Portée Amélioré (ASMPA; medium-range air to surface missile), by MBDA, is an enhanced variant of ASMP.
A two-seat Rafale fighter of the 01/091 "Gascogne" Fighter Squadron took off on Thursday for a test that brought together all the characteristic phases of an airborne nuclear strike mission which culminated with the firing an ASMPA missile, without a nuclear warhead, at its target at the Missile Test Center in Biscarrosse, the Ministry of Defense said.
Reserved for strategic air forces of France, it carries a thermonuclear load of approximately 300 kilotons (power equivalent to twenty times the Hiroshima bomb) at a distance of about 500 km.
It entered operational service in 2010, replacing the missile Medium Range Air-Ground (ASMP), which improves performance while taking up the essential characteristics.
The ASMP has a range of between 50 and 186 miles. It entered service in 1986.