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.
|ASMP||LACM||80 - 300 km||Operational|
|Black Shaheen||ALCM||290 km||Operational|
|Exocet||ASCM||40 - 180 km||Operational|
|SCALP EG / Storm Shadow||ALCM||550 km||Operational|
|APACHE AP||ALCM||140 - 400 km||Operational|
|SCALP Naval||SLCM||1000-1400 km||Operational|