The French Air Force has carried out the first operational evaluation of its new ASMPA supersonic nuclear standoff missile placed on the centreline pylon of a Rafale fighter. France’s strategic air force command successfully carried out the first operational evaluation launch of the integrated weapon system comprising a C-135 tanker, a Rafale strike aircraft, and the ASMPA nuclear stand-off missile according to a scenario representative of a real mission.
The crew of the fighter, belonging to the 1/91 “Gascogne” squadron, took off from Saint-Dizier air base. During five hours, the mission brought together all the important phases of flight: high altitude cruise, low altitude penetration, terrain following, in-flight refuelling from tanker aircraft...The C-135 tanker, belonging to the 2/91 “Bretagne” inflight refueling squadron, provided the range extension needed for a strategic mission. After five hours of flight, the crew launched the ASMPA, which was not fitted with a nuclear warhead.