A Nuclear-Armed Rafale

Check out this great picture of a French air force Rafale armed with what appears to be an ASMP-A (Air Sol Moyenne Porte Ameliore) nuclear missile. The latest variant of the missile can fly for 500 kilometers at speeds of Mach 3 with a 300 kiloton warhead. The weapon is designed to be used as a last-ditch warning shot prior to an all out attack by France’s air-and-sea-based nuclear diad, the Force De Frappe.

The French air force’s Strike Squadron 3/4 flying Mirage 2000Ns and Strike Squadron 1/91 flying the Rafales are both equipped with the missile.

I’ve got to say, I’m not sure how effective nuclear warning shots are if the other guy has nukes, too.

Props to Steve Trimble for finding this picture. Here’s the original poster.

  • kljaldkj

    aaand why was this thing airborne?

  • Hunter78

    300 Kiloton warning shot?

  • USA94

    I think the french are feeling either “Badass” or “stupid”

    • froggy

      try it, is to accept it, idiot !

  • James

    Last ditch effort before France surrenders you mean.

  • A. Nonymous

    Still trying to wrap my mind around the term “nuclear warning shot.” I assume this would only be used against another nuclear-armed country. “RSVP to Armageddon” is the more likely outcome.

    • Trooper2

      Unique, I believe, to the French. From Wikipedia:
      “Since the French military judged that a full-scale invasion of Western Europe by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact Allies was unlikely to be stopped by conventional armaments, these short-range nuclear missiles were meant as a “final warning” (ultime avertissement in French) which would tell the aggressor that any further advances would trigger a nuclear armageddon upon its major cities and other important targets.”
      Maybe too much red wine in the diet?

  • Steve B.

    I’m thinking the “nuclear armed warning shot” concept, as described here, is a bit of sarcasm perhaps?. I can’t consider the French military designing this for such a purpose, as there’s really no potential enemy they would use it against. Russia ?. China ?, UK ?.

    Possibly it’s more a “other then SLBM” nuclear weapon, for when their SLBM’s cannot be targeted to a desired location and possibly they have some sort of confidence that an aircraft could do the job ?.

    I admit I’m having a hard time envisioning such a scenario in today’s day and age. Possibly Islamabad after some crazy lets loose a nuke in Paris ?. Long shot and maybe the cost cutters will retire these things.


  • Tim

    When Carla Bruni decides to get rid of Sarkosy !

  • PondScum

    Note to China, an armada of these tactical nuclear missiles would be very effective in repelling a [US] carrier battle group.

  • stef

    The warning is when the jet is airborne, not when the missile is shot. It’s a way to show you really mean it but there’s still a (short) room for an agreement – you can still call it of.
    On contrary, a hidden sub is not warning anybody until the missile is shot – wich is not anymore a warning but a strike.

  • Jay

    “Chrome Dome”

  • 6471960

    They would love to use it on Israel.

  • Bob

    I wonder if the missle comes with tennis shoes so the FRENCH chicken s__t pilot can run away should his plane go down. A country full of thankless wimps. My Dad took a bullet in WW2 for them and have an Uncle who was a POW for six months. The French citizens at the time laughed and derided him when he as a POW was paraded thru Metz France with two very large, blonde haired, blue eyed German soldiers holding each of his arms and showing the locals there how powerful they were. With them for “allies” we have little help. Like I said, French are wimps. If I know something is made in France, I don’t buy it. Let the money do the talking.

    • gildasd

      My gran has a metal plate in the head after being knocked over by a Panzer in 1941as 15 year old, my whole family was held hostage in St Nazaire until after Berlin fell while under constant US and UK bombardment yet they attended the burial of every downed allied pilot. Despite orders that doing so was a one way trip to bullet in the back of the head (if you were lucky). She and my gramp, as 14 years olds, also dragged rotting English corpses out of the mud after the Lancastria was sunk for proper burial. So your uncle might have seen the worst of the bad, but don’t put us all in the same bucket.

      To know what “real” French people were doing, not the lazy arseholes your uncle met, please read about Bir Hakeim, the resistance and the “Free French” in general.

      Personally, a French man, I try to buy American for my tooling, while your governments since Reagan have been exporting American jobs.

  • Corvan

    500km, Mach 3 performance!?! Put a conventional warhead on that thing & get it on the international market now! Now!! NOW!!!

  • Christian Benesch

    The French calculation then was to make it too costly to invade them, even though they have become a comparatively small power.

    Epitomized in Charles de Gaulles statement: “I truly believe that one does not light-heartedly attack people who are able to kill 80 million Russians (the French with their nuclear weapons), even if one can kill 800 million French, that is if there were 800 million French.”

    (and surely there was a tinge of never ever letting an army roll over them again as in WW2)

    And yes, guys, it is called “deterrent” for a reason. It is not meant to be dropped on anybody, but it has to be credible. So the planes have to fly (and probably let themselves be photographed).

    Whether “deterrent” is a good thing or whether it is crazy is another matter. But that is not a different question for the French than for the British, US or Russians.

  • bob

    The author of this article is quoting wikipedia.
    Either we can now read the nuclear weapon’s strategy of a country on a free online encyclopedia or the post is highly inacurate.

    Do you guys even know what 300 kiloton is? It’s 20 times Hiroshima.
    Yeah there is more destructive but that will most likely do the job.