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France conducts first operational test launch of upgraded ASMPA nuclear missile

Imagery of the first operational test and evaluation launch of the ASMPA had the nuclear missile obscured. (Ministre des Armées)

The French Air and Space Force conducted the first operational test and evaluation (OT&E) launch of the upgraded MBDA France ASMPA (Air-Sol Moyenne Portée Amélioré) supersonic medium-range stand-off nuclear missile on 22 May.

The event saw the service and the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) fire an inert missile from a Dassault Rafale test aircraft during a simulated mission scenario that was representative of a real-world strike.

“The renovation programme for the ASMPA, led by the DGA, makes it possible to strengthen the missile's performance and maintain the credibility of the airborne component of France's nuclear deterrent in the face of evolving threats until [the] arrival of the future fourth-generation air-to-ground missile [in 2035],” the DGA said.

While imagery of the milestone firing was released by both the French Air and Space Force and the DGA, the ASMPA missile was obscured. No details of the flight time or distance covered were disclosed.

The OT&E firing follows a series of qualification test launches of the upgraded missile conducted over recent years. The baseline ASMPA missile entered service with the French Air and Space Force in 2009, and with the French Navy in 2010. France is understood to have a stock of about 50 such missiles.

For more information on the ASMPA missile, please seeASMP and ASMPA .

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