First firing of a renovated French ASMPA strategic missile by Rafale fighter

Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces, expressed her great satisfaction after the success, on December 9, 2020, of the first firing of the renovated strategic air-to-ground medium-range missile (ASMPA). She sent her warm congratulations to all the staff of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and of the MBDA and Dassault Aviation companies who contributed to its success.

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First firing of the renovated French ASMPA strategic missile by Rafale M fighter

Rafale M of the French Air and Space Force carrying an ASMPA (Picture source: R.Nicolas-Nelson/Armée de l’Air et de l'Espace)

The missile, developed by MBDA, was fired from a Dassault Aviation Rafale M, as part of a program under the supervision of the DGA. The fighter took off from the Air Base 120 located in Cazaux. Throughout its flight phase, the missile was monitored by DGA Missile Tests at Biscarosse, Hourtin and Quimper, with the participation of DGA Flight Tests.

This success marks the entry into the qualification phase of the renovated ASMPA missile, a prerequisite before its entry into service in the Strategic Air Forces (FAS) of the Air and Space Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) and in the Naval Nuclear Force (FANu ) of the French Navy. This armament program responds to the will of the President of the Republic, who is committed "to take the decisions necessary to maintain their operational credibility over time, at the level of strict sufficiency required by the international environment".

The ASMPA (formerly ASMP-AN 1) improved medium-range air-to-surface missile is manufactured by MBDA. Reserved for the French strategic air forces, it carries a nuclear warhead (TNA) of about 300 kilotons (a power equivalent to about twenty times the Hiroshima bomb), at a distance of around 500 km. It entered operational service in 2010, replacing the medium-range air-to-ground missile (ASMP), with improved performance while retaining its essential characteristics.