September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com
(Source: French Ministry of Defence; issued Sept. 24, 2013)
(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)
Strategic Air Forces Complete Force Evaluation Mission
On Monday, September 23, the strategic air forces successfully carried out a full operational test of the “C135 Tanker / Mirage 2000N fighter / ASMPA stand-off missile” operational chain. A representative training missile was used for the trial, which was intended to test the functionality of a real nuclear deterrence mission.
A Mirage 2000N nuclear strike fighter belonging to Squadron 2/4 "La Fayette" took off from Air Base 702 at Avord, in central France, for a mission lasting over three hours, which brought together all the significant phases of this type of mission: flight at high altitude, refueling from a C135FR tanker of Squadron 2/91 "Bretagne” to increase range, low altitude penetration flight, terrain-following approach and firing of an ASMPA missile (without a nuclear charge) onto the target.
Civil and military authorities were able to follow the mission from the DGA missile testing center at Biscarrosse, and concluded that the mission profile, as well as the missile’s trajectory, complied in all respects with the planned flight profile.
This operation, which brought together staff and resources of the Air Force, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and contractor MBDA, is a success that demonstrates the performance and reliability of the weapon system.
Guaranteeing the technical and operational credibility of the airborne component of France’s nuclear deterrent, the TEF mission demonstrates the ability of the strategic air force, which has ensured the nuclear deterrence mission for nearly fifty years.