France is one of the world’s major missile powers, with an array of sophisticated ballistic and cruise missile programs. It is also one of the five recognized nuclear weapon states and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. France’s nuclear deterrent is split between two legs: its fleet of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and its arsenal of nuclear air-launched cruise missiles.

France first acquired nuclear weapons in 1954, in part due to a reluctance to rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella to deter a Soviet attack. Since then, France has kept its nuclear forces and doctrine outside of the NATO command structure. Despite France rejoining NATO as a full member in 2009, it maintains the independence of its nuclear arsenal, which it claims is vital to sustaining deterrence against threats to French sovereignty.

Missile Types

Missile
M51
M45
M20
ASMP
APACHE AP
SCALP EG / Storm Shadow
SCALP Naval
Black Shaheen
Exocet
S-3
Pluton
Hadès
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