France Test-fires Strategic Nuclear Missile, ASMPA from Rafale Jet

  • Our Bureau
  • 05:45 PM, December 10, 2020
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France Test-fires Strategic Nuclear Missile, ASMPA from Rafale Jet
Rafale jet carrying ASMPA missile underneath. MBDA image

French strategic nuclear air-to-ground medium-range missile (ASMPA) was test fired for the first time from an Air Force Rafale jet yesterday.

The missile, developed by MBDA, was fired from a Dassault Aviation Rafale aircraft, as part of a program under the supervision of the French armaments agency, DGA, which took off from an air base in Cazaux on December 9.

In tests missiles used are “inert” - without a warhead but having all the electronics and functionalities of the real ASMPA.

Throughout its flight phase, the missile was monitored by DGA Missile Tests at Biscarosse, Hourtin and Quimper, with the participation of DGA flight tests, a French MoD release said.

This success marks the entry into the qualification phase of the ASMPA missile, a prerequisite before its entry into service in the Strategic Air Forces (FAS) of the Air and Space Army and in the Nuclear Naval Air Force (FANU) of the French Navy.

ASMPA is planned to replace the earlier ASMP (strategic air-launched nuclear missile, for deployment by France’s strategic air forces and which can be carried under the Mirage 2000N). The transition scenario from ASMP to ASMPA was initial entry into service on the K3 standard of the Mirage 2000N and subsequently on the F3 standard Rafale.

France Test-fires Strategic Nuclear Missile, ASMPA from Rafale Jet

According to DGA information, the ASMPA (AIR-TO-GROUND MISSILE, MEDIUM RANGE, ENHANCED) missile is powered by a ramjet motor.

This mode of propulsion, compared to a traditional rocket propulsion system, allows for the significant reduction of both the required space within the missile as well as missile weight in relation to the required range and warhead charge. It also allows the missile to cover a large part of the flight envelope at high supersonic speeds.

Warhead: New, medium energy thermo-nuclear charge; a concept validated during the last nuclear testing campaign. Simulations have proven its effective operation. The range and penetration capabilities have been significantly enhanced in relation to ASMP. The missile is nuclear-attack hardened.


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