France, as one of the world’s legally possessing nuclear weapons, has always actively worked to improve its own nuclear weapons performance, and the many nuclear weapons it has developed are very distinctive. For example, its air-launched nuclear cruise missile is a typical representative.
Unlike the United States and Russia, which mainly use subsonic air-launched nuclear cruise missiles, the main feature of the air-launched nuclear cruise missiles currently used in France is the fast flight speed. Taking the most advanced air-launched nuclear cruise missile ASMP-A currently equipped in France, it is generally carried and launched by French “Rafale” series fighters, using the “inertial guidance + terrain matching guidance” common on cruise missiles. The missile itself is generally equipped with a thermonuclear warhead with an explosive equivalent of 300,000 tons of TNT, and is also capable of using conventional warheads, and is equipped with an integral rocket ramjet engine with a range of up to 500 kilometers. The maximum flying speed can reach Mach 4. Therefore, from the analysis of the actual flight speed of the French ASMP-A air-launched nuclear cruise missile, it is a serious air-launched supersonic nuclear cruise missile.
The current penetration capability of the French ASMP-A air-launched nuclear cruise missile may not be effective in the future.
However, although the ASMP-A air-launched nuclear cruise missile has a relatively fast flight speed, and possesses a certain degree of stealth and maneuverable orbital penetration capabilities, it faces the continuous advancement of air defense and anti-missile technology in the world, especially like Russia. The rapid replacement of air defense and anti-missile equipment in France’s main traditional potential opponents has also restricted the penetration effectiveness of the ASMP-A air-launched nuclear cruise missile itself in possible actual combat in the future. For France in order to continue to ensure its reliable nuclear strike and nuclear deterrence capabilities, it inevitably needs to be equipped with a more advanced air-launched nuclear missile in the future.
In order to meet such a strategic need, France has begun to develop a next-generation air-launched nuclear cruise missile called ASM4G. The ASM4G air-launched nuclear cruise missile, also known as the “Prometheus” air-launched nuclear cruise missile, is still designed to highlight the characteristics of fast flight, and it can still be updated by the “Rafale” series of fighter jets or in the future. Advanced next-generation fighter jets are carried. However, unlike the current ASMP-A air-launched nuclear cruise missile, the ASM4G air-launched nuclear cruise missile uses a more advanced rocket boost plus a scramjet power combination. At the same time, the missile The LEA hypersonic flight body part itself uses the wave rider aerodynamic shape technology.
Therefore, the ASM4G air-launched nuclear cruise missile is a hypersonic nuclear cruise missile. Its maximum flight speed during wind tunnel testing is based on It is said that it has reached Mach 6 and has a range performance of up to 1,000 kilometers. It will use a brand-new guidance system. The LEA hypersonic flight body is equipped with a nuclear warhead of a certain equivalent, and it can be equipped with conventional warhead too.
In this way, the technical indicators of the French ASM4G air-launched nuclear cruise missile have the ability to surpass the ASMP-A air-launched nuclear cruise missile, and at the same time, it will become the strongest air-launched cruise missile in Europe in the future. In particular, because the ASM4G air-launched nuclear cruise missile is an air-launched hypersonic nuclear cruise missile, its supersonic and orbital maneuver penetration capabilities have also reached a higher level, so that it can make it difficult for opponents to intercept. As a result, once France makes ASM4G air-launched nuclear cruise missiles form an initial combat capability in 2035 as planned, it will be able to raise its nuclear strike and deterrence capabilities to a better level.