(MENAFN) In a significant display of its commitment to maintaining a robust nuclear deterrent, France has conducted a successful test of its M51.3 long-range ballistic missile. The test, conducted over the weekend, marks a crucial step in the ongoing upgrades to the French nuclear arsenal, showcasing the country's dedication to ensuring the credibility of its deterrence capabilities.
The M51.3 represents the latest iteration of the M51, a three-stage ballistic missile designed specifically for launch from French nuclear submarines. Originally tested from a ground launcher in 2006 and subsequently from the sea in 2010, the M51 has undergone continuous refinement to enhance its effectiveness.
French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu shared footage of the successful test on social media, emphasizing the significance of the achievement. He stated, "First successful test firing of an M51.3 strategic ballistic missile! Confirms the credibility of our nuclear deterrent and demonstrates the excellence of our launch sector."
The missile was launched from the Biscarosse testing site in southwest France, with its trajectory culminating in a controlled splashdown in the North Atlantic, strategically positioned away from any coastline. The French Defense Ministry highlighted that the test was conducted "in strict compliance" with international commitments, underlining the responsible and transparent nature of France's nuclear activities.
The Directorate General of Armament (DGA), France's defense procurement and development agency, affirmed that the test confirmed the "proper functioning" of the missile system. The positive outcome is a significant step towards the eventual approval of the M51.3 version, showcasing the technological prowess of ArianeGroup, the joint venture responsible for the missile's development, comprising French military contractor Safran and multinational conglomerate Airbus.
France, a nuclear power since 1960, has maintained a robust nuclear deterrent with an estimated 300 operational nuclear warheads primarily carried by naval and air assets. The successful test of the M51.3 reinforces France's commitment to modernizing its nuclear capabilities, ensuring the nation's strategic security in an evolving global landscape.
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