French Air Force rehearses a long-range nuclear strike

February 7, 2019

Defense News:

COLOGNE, Germany — The French Air Force has successfully practiced a nuclear strike mission, sending aircraft on an 11-hour mission to sneak a nuclear-capable cruise missile through simulated enemy air defenses and nail it into the sands of a test range south of Bordeaux.

The Feb. 4 mission, billed by the Armed Forces Ministry as “operation-representative,” featured a Rafale fighter jet releasing an ASMP-A missile, made by MBDA. Officials designed the drill to include “all phases characteristic of a nuclear-dissuasion mission,” including successive refueling by C-135 and A-330 tankers before aiming the missile — without a nuclear warhead — at a missile test area near the town of Biscarrosse.

“This success reinforces the technical and operational credibility of the deterrence that the airborne component has continuously maintained through the Air Force since 1964,” reads an Armed Forces Ministry statement from Feb. 5.

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