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01:06 PM, February 7, 2019
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France Tests Nuclear-capable Missile On Rafale Fighter
Rafale fighter (image: Dassault)

France has tested a missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload on the Rafale Fighter jet, the Air Force announced Tuesday.

The nuclear strike mission lasted 11 hours and included aerial refuelling of the Rafale.

"These real strikes are scheduled in the life of the weapon's system. They are carried out at fairly regular intervals, but remain rare because the real missile, without its warhead, is fired," Reuters quoted French Air Force spokesman Colonel Cyrille Duvivier as saying.

The French Air Force, however, declined to reveal when the tests were carried out.

ASMPA cruise missile, which is the French military's main nuclear strike weapon for aircraft, was reportedly used for the tests, The Week reported Wednesday.

The Rafale was chosen for the nuclear strike role and was equipped to carry long-range fuel tanks and fly at low levels, after a variant of the Mirage 2000 meant for the role retired in 2018.

The announcement has come days after the US pulled out a 1987 pact known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which prohibited the US and Russia from deploying missiles with ranges in between 500km and 5,500km.

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