The French Ministry of Defense announced yesterday (March 23) that it had successfully tested an upgraded version of a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead (nicknamed ASMPA) and that the French Air Force and Navy will soon receive this missile.
A new version of the medium-range air-to-ground missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, known as ASMPA, has been successfully tested, according to a statement released by the French Ministry of Defense on March 23. This missile was launched from the French Air Force’s Cazaux base in the southwest by a Rafale fighter.
The ASMPA missile has completed testing and will enter production to equip the French Navy’s Strategic Air Force and Nuclear Air Defense Force, according to the statement. The Matra BAE Dynamics Alenia defence group in the United Kingdom and France developed the ASMPA missile. For the first time in 2009, Rafale fighters were equipped with this missile. The ASN4G missile, a new generation of air-to-surface missiles that can also carry nuclear warheads, is expected to replace it by 2035.
Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, France is now the only country in the European Union (EU) with nuclear weapons. France has also equipped nuclear-powered submarines with nuclear-tipped missiles in addition to the Rafale fighters (SNLE).
Local experts believe this is a warning from France in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as the increasingly tense Russia-EU relations and the risk of escalation and spread.