Hadès

Hadès was a short-range, road mobile, solid-propellant ballistic missile developed by France to replace its Pluton missile. It was capable of delivering a high explosive or nuclear payload.

Hadès at a Glance

Originated from: France
Possessed by: France
Class: Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)
Basing: Ground-launched, Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL)
Length: 7.5 m
Diameter: 0.53 m
Launch weight: 1,850 kg
Payload: Single warhead
Warhead: HE or 80 kT nuclear
Propulsion: Single-stage solid propellant
Range: 480 km
Status: Obsolete
In service: Never entered service

hades

Hadès Development

The Hadès project dated back to 1975, when it was designed as a replacement for the tactical road-mobile Pluton system. Development began in 1984, followed by flight testing in 1988.1 France initially intended to build 120 Hadès missiles, but only 30 were ever produced.2

Hadès Specifications

Although the  missile was originally designed to have a range of 250 km, it was later increased to 480 km.3 The missile was equipped with a single-stage solid-propellant engine that would allow it to be readily deployed along the French border to deter a Soviet invasion.

French transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicles were to be equipped with two missiles each. The missiles themselves were 7.5 m in length, 0.53 in diameter, and 1,850 kg in weight. Despite its small size, the Hadès carried an 80 kT yield nuclear or a powerful high explosive warhead.4 The combination of the relatively small and light TELs and Hadès missiles allowed for an easily transportable weapon that could move along unfinished or imperfect roads5

The Hadès used an inertial guidance system and was capable of some evasive maneuvers as it approached its target. Although the accuracy of the system remains unknown, reports indicate that a variant was being developed to destroy buried hard targets using a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system and digital terminal guidance, resulting in an accuracy of less than 5 m circular error probable (CEP).6 The Hadès trajectory was intentionally kept low, so that the aerodynamic control fins at the rear of the missile could alter the trajectory and range during flight and make evasive maneuvers during the terminal phase.7

Hadès Service History

In 1991, the Ministry of Defense decided against deploying the system operationally and limited production to 30 missiles and 15 TEL vehicles. The missiles were originally put into storage so that they could be reactivated in the event of military conflict in Europe.8 In 1996, then French president Jacques Chirac announced that the Hadès missiles were to be decommissioned and dismantled.9

In June 1997, the last of the missiles were destroyed.10

Sources

  1. Global Security, “Weapons of Mass Destruction (See France, IRBM)”, July 24, 2011, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/france/hades.htm.
  2. Duncan Lennox, “Hadès”, Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Obsolete Systems), October 13, 2011.
  3. Duncan Lennox, “Hadès”, Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Obsolete Systems), October 13, 2011.
  4. Duncan Lennox, “Hades”, Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Obsolete Systems), October 13, 2011.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Foundation of American Scientists, “Hades”, 11 August 2000, https://fas.org/nuke/guide/france/theater/hades.htm.
  7. Duncan Lennox, “Hadès”, Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Obsolete Systems), October 13, 2011.
  8. Duncan Lennox, “Hadès”, Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Obsolete Systems), October 13, 2011.
  9. JAC Lewis, “All Change for France: How the Big Shake-Out Will Shape Up”, Jane’s Defense Weekly, March 13, 1996.
  10. Global Security, “Weapons of Mass Destruction (See France, IRBM)”, July 24, 2011, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/france/hades.htm.
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