The French Ministry of Defence has successfully conducted the test launch of an Air-Sol Moyenne-Portée-Amélioré (ASMP-A) nuclear-capable missile without a nuclear charge.
The successful demonstration is a result of the collaboration of all personnel from the French force who participated in the project, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA), the Gendarmerie Nationale, and the participating companies.
To conduct the test, the French Navy’s Rafale-M single-seat fighter took off from Avord Air Base (BA 702) in Central France.
The Rafale-M single-seat fighter travelled for more than four hours, during which it enacted all the phases of an airborne deterrent mission.
The phases included successive aerial refuellings, long-distance flight, terrain following, low-altitude penetration, and launch of a high-accuracy ASMP-A missile on a test area of the DGA’s Biscarrosse missile test centre.
The current test launch was an operational assessment firing of the upgraded Rafale / ASMP-A system (ASMP-A) and represents a real nuclear strike mission that has been carried out by the airborne nuclear component.
ASMP-A will replace the ASMP, which is a strategic and ultimate deterrent air-launched nuclear missile that is used for deployment by the strategic air forces of France and can be carried under the Mirage 2000N.
The air vehicle is pre-developed for the Vesta activity along with the ANF future anti-ship programme.
The new mode of propulsion facilitates a considerable reduction in both the required space within the missile and missile weight in relation to the required range and warhead charge.
It enables the missile to cover a large part of the flight envelope at high supersonic speeds.