France

France possesses approximately 300 nuclear warheads.[1] Its arsenal includes four Le Triomphant class submarines, stationed at Ile Longue in Bretagne. Each submarine can carry up to 16 M45 missiles, which can in turn be armed with six warheads each. [2] The M45 missiles are slowly being replaced with longer range M51 missiles. The M51 will be further modernised starting in 2015.[i] France also arms three squadrons of planes with air-to-surface missiles (ASMP) and has twenty Super Étendard fighter-bombers stationed on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.[3]

 

Ballistic Missiles

M51

Safran– propulsion system, inert components in rocket motors, navigation system

Airbus — prime contractor

Thales– main subcontractors

 

M45

Airbus (Defence and Space), previously through EADS’ subsidiary Astrium

 

M51.2 (to enter service in 2016),

Airbus

 

M51.3  (in development),

Airbus, development contract

 

Medium-range air-to-surface missile

ASMP

MBDA is a joint venture between Airbus, BAE Systems and Finmeccanica

MBDA also charged with the development of the ASMPA-successor ASN4G

 

 


 

[1] Assuring Destruction Forever, 2014.  http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Publications/modernization/france-2014.pdf, viewed 28 May 2014.

[2] Volkery, Carsten, ‘Deterrent Lite’: A Look at Britain’s and France’s Nuclear Arsenals, Der Spiegel, http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/deterrent-lite-a-look-at-britain-s-and-france-s-nuclear-arsenals-a-688504.html, viewed 24 July 2014.

[3] Volkery, Carsten, ‘Deterrent Lite’: A Look at Britain’s and France’s Nuclear Arsenals, Der Spiegel, http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/deterrent-lite-a-look-at-britain-s-and-france-s-nuclear-arsenals-a-688504.html, viewed 24 July 2014.

[i] Kristensen, Assuring Destruction Forever, 2014, http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Publications/modernization/france-2014.pdf

written by

Australian director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

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