France checks its new M51.3 missile and proclaims it | EUROtoday

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The French Ministry of the Armed Forces was happy after the profitable take a look at firing this weekend of its M51.3 missile, designed to be launched from its submarines. A means of strengthening the credibility of the French nuclear deterrent in a context of atomic menace stoked by Russia for the reason that struggle in Ukraine.

It weighs 50 tonnes and measures 12 meters excessive. Residents of southwest France noticed it pierce the sky on the night of Saturday, November 18, questioning what had brought about this lengthy luminous streak on the horizon. Some thought it was particles from the American Space X mega-rocket, after its launch failure, and expressed concern on social media.

In actuality, France carried out a take a look at firing, with out nuclear cost, of its state-of-the-art ballistic missile: the M51.3. The firing was performed by the General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) from its Landes website, in response to a press launch issued by the Ministry of the Armed Forces after the success of this take a look at.

“This development perpetuates the credibility of our nuclear deterrence and demonstrates the excellence of our launcher sector,” Sébastien Lecornu, Minister of the Armed Forces, welcomed Saturday night on X.

“The missile was monitored all through its flight part by the DGA take a look at assets. The fallout zone is positioned within the North Atlantic, a number of hundred kilometers from any coast. This take a look at was carried out and not using a nuclear cost and in strict compliance with France’s worldwide commitments”, the ministry stated.

A capability of round ten nuclear warheads

The French military examined there for the primary time a brand new model of its M51, designed to be launched from a submarine. “Version 2 of the M51 had already been fitted to nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) for around fifteen years. We do not have precise details because it is very confidential. But we know that “There is possibly an increase in nuclear warheads that can be carried in the missile. They would increase to around ten warheads for the M51.3”, explains Héloïse Fayet, researcher at the Center for Security Studies at Ifri (French Institute of International Relations) and coordinator of the Deterrence and Proliferation program.

With a range of nearly 10,000 kilometers, the destructive capacity of the M51.3, if loaded, could therefore reach 1,000 times the power of the American Hiroshima bomb. Even if it is not at all the same context, given that this missile is intended to support nuclear deterrence.

Dissuading from attacking France

In addition to its load, this missile in its new version would above all have a better “penetration capacity, to be certain that it would manage to penetrate the anti-missile defenses facing it”, explains Héloïse Fayet.

“These are missiles that are practically impossible to intercept,” feedback the previous officer and writer of the Blog “Do not suffer”, Guillaume Ancel on France Info.

If on a quantitative degree, France comes on the backside of the pack – with the United Kingdom – of the 5 nations with nuclear weapons having signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), from a qualitative viewpoint the The efficiency of the M51.3 is equal to that of the American-British Trident missiles and people of the Russian Bulava. French missiles are additionally higher than the Chinese, believes Héloïse Fayet, who however recollects that France has a deterrence doctrine totally different from these of the opposite members of this group.

As the Ministry of the Armed Forces recalled in its press launch on Saturday, “this armament program responds to the wishes of the President of the Republic who is committed to taking the decisions necessary to maintain the operational credibility of the nuclear forces in the duration, at the level of strict sufficiency required by the international environment”.

France’s nuclear deterrence relies on the doctrine of “strict sufficiency”. It is a query of getting a ample variety of missiles, to show able to inflicting – within the occasion of self-defense – unacceptable harm to an adversary, so as to persuade him that attacking France shouldn’t be value it.

To this finish, along with the M51s that it could possibly fireplace from its 4 nuclear ballistic missile submarines, the French military can be in a position to launch improved medium-range air-to-ground missiles (ASMP-A). , since its gusts.

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“There is no need to do more and increase the number of heads” provides Héloïse Fayet. And to recall that “France is part of an alliance – NATO – which is itself nuclear and that Paris has close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom which are two other nuclear powers”.

“A few years ago, there wouldn’t have been so much communication”

Test firings, with out nuclear expenses, happen usually and the date of Saturday’s take a look at is above all “linked to industrial and technological imperatives”. “But a few years ago, there would not have been as much communication,” remarks Héloïse Fayet.

“Through their success and publicity, test firings help to strengthen the credibility of deterrence, both towards adversaries and allies,” specifies the researcher on X.

According to Guillaume Ancel, “it is a way of making indirect communication on the fact that our nuclear deterrent is not 20 years old and that it is perfectly up to date.” And this in a context of tensions with Russia, since President Vladimir Putin threatened to make use of nuclear weapons through the first months of the struggle in Ukraine in 2022.

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Most not too long ago, Moscow revoked its ratification of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) – which the United States, in contrast to France, has by no means ratified.

“Defense secret” particles

Scheduled to be put into service in two years, the M51.3 missile may have a lifespan of round fifteen years, explains to Le Figaro the top of protection actions at ArianeGroup, prime contractor of the M51 missile program, underneath lined by anonymity. Meanwhile, “reflections on the future M51.4 missile have already begun” with the concept of ​​anticipating technological developments in ballistic defenses of the long run, explains the French each day.

The missile examined on Saturday was fired from a “pool which reproduces the firing conditions of a real nuclear ballistic missile submarine” in a French military base positioned in Biscarrosse, to keep away from mobilizing a submarine nuclear missile launcher which ensures the permanence of French nuclear deterrence within the seas and oceans of the world, specifies François-Xavier Dufer, deputy to the DGA, interviewed by France Bleu.

The rocket, which then crashed within the North Atlantic, a number of hundred kilometers from any coast, was adopted at sea by nationwide navy ships accountable, as soon as the operation was accomplished, for recovering all the valuable fallout. of the missile within the ocean. These latter are the truth is “defense secrets” particles. “Absolutely everything is recovered by the French Navy and the DGA, because many countries would be very interested in knowing what is in our missiles,” notes Héloïse Fayet.