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One July 1, the French air force's Rafale strike fighter fleet was declared operationally ready in the nuclear strike mission.(credit: SIRPA Air)The Rafale carries the MBDA ASMP-A missile for that purpose. The mission is assigned to the 1/91 fighter squadron at the Saint-Dizier base.The development of the ramjet-powered ASMP-A has not been trouble-free, but French air force chief of staff Gen. Jean-Paul Palomeros says the weapon is meeting performance demands. And, he notes, it is the first time the country has fielded such a nuclear weapon without an actual nuclear test. (As far as is known, France is the first nation to accomplish this feat.)The Rafale will supersede the Mirage 2000N in the nuclear role.
ar99, Rafale, Dassault, tacair
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