22 Haziran 2012 Cuma
First Operational Evaluation Firing of ASMPA Missile
(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)
On Tuesday, June 19, 2012,
France’s strategic air force command successfully carried out the first operational evaluation launch of the integrated weapon system comprising a C135 tanker, a Rafale strike aircraft, and the ASMPA nuclear stand-off missile according to a scenario representative of a real mission.
The crew of the fighter, belonging to the 1/91 "Gascogne" squadron, took off from Saint-Dizier air base. During five hours, the mission brought together all the important phases of flight: high altitude cruise, low altitude penetration, terrain following, in-flight refueling from tanker aircraft ... The C135 tanker, belonging to the 2/91 "Bretagne" in-flight refueling squadron, provided the range extension needed for a strategic mission. After five hours of flight, the crew launched the ASMPA, which was not fitted with a nuclear warhead.
Civil and military authorities tracked the missile’s trajectory and mission profile, which complied in every respect to the expected flight profile from the missile test center of the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) located at Biscarrosse, in south-western France.
This complex operation that brings together staff and resources of the Air Force, the DGA, industrial MBDA, the Atomic Energy Commission and Alternative Energies and the Navy (for the surveillance of the neighboring area, including the sea) is a success that validates the performance of this weapon system.
By guaranteeing the technical and operational credibility of the airborne deterrent, the EFT test demonstrates the ability of this strategic resource to carry on with the nuclear deterrent mission which has been continuously provided, for nearly fifty years, by France’s strategic air forces.