Missiles of France

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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 Name Class Range Status
ASMP LACM 80 - 300 km Operational
Black Shaheen ALCM 290 km Operational
Exocet ASCM 40 - 180 km Operational
Hadès SRBM 480 km Obsolete
M20 SLBM 2,500 km Obsolete
M45 SLBM 6,000 km Obsolete
M51 SLBM 8,000 km Operational
Pluton SRBM 120 km Obsolete
S-3 IRBM 3,500 km Obsolete
SCALP EG / Storm Shadow ALCM 550 km Operational
APACHE AP ALCM 140 - 400 km Operational
SCALP Naval SLCM 1000-1400 km Operational
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Missile Defense Project, "Missiles of France," Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 14, 2018, last modified March 3, 2021, https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/france/.