Monday, July 5, 2010
New Nuclear Cruise Missile Enters French Service
On July 1, 2010 Admiral Edouard Guillaud, chief of the french defence staff, pronounced the official introduction into service of the Rafale / Missile Air-Sol Moyenne Portée Améliorée (ASMP-A) combination. The event was marked by an official ceremony on Saint-Dizier air base (BA 113) in North-eastern France, and marks the final phase of the modernisation of the French air force’s nuclear component.
Accompanies by Gen. Jean-Paul Palomeros, the air force chief of staff, Adm. Guillaud reviewed the 1/91 “Gascogne” squadron, the second squadron to be equipped with the Rafale and whose primary mission is nuclear deterrence. The “Gascogne” has undergone a long process to attain its operational capability with the F3 standard of the Rafale combat aircraft.
The ASMP-A (Air-to-Ground Medium-Range missile – Improved) first entered operational service on October 1, 2009 when it was introduced on the Mirage 2000N strike fighters operated by the 3 / 4 “Limousin” squadron based in Istres, in south-eastern France.
The introduction of the new missile was accompanied by a complete refurbishing of the infrastructures, and an overhaul of procedures, nuclear safety and documented references, with the goal of familiarizing the forces with all these enhancements and with the missile’s new mission profiles on a familiar aircraft, the Mirage 2000N, before moving on to the ultimate carrier, the F3 standard Rafale