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WorldFrance carries out rare simulation of nuclear deterrent strike

00:06  06 february  2019
00:06  06 february  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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PARIS (Reuters) - France conducted a rare simulation of a nuclear deterrent mission, its armed forces ministry said on Tuesday, at a time when the United States plans to exit a nuclear arms control pact with Russia. The 11-hour mission, which included refueling, tested all phases of an attack

France conducted a rare simulation of a nuclear deterrent mission, its armed forces ministry said on Tuesday, at a time when the United States plans to exit a nuclear arms control pact with Russia. "These real strikes are scheduled in the life of the weapons' system," French air force.

France carries out rare simulation of nuclear deterrent strike© Getty A picture shows Dassault Aviation's Rafale fighter jets sitting on an assembly line in Merignac, southwestern France, on January 14, 2019. - French Defence Minister, Florence Parly, launched on January 14, 2019 a 1,9-billion-euro-programme for the new F4 standard of the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft. (Photo by MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP) (Photo credit should read MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP/Getty Images) PARIS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - France conducted a rare simulation of a nuclear deterrent mission, its armed forces ministry said on Tuesday, at a time when the United States plans to exit a nuclear arms control pact with Russia.

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The French Air Force has carried out a " rare " simulation of a nuclear strike involving a Rafale multirole fighter. The 11-hour mission, which included all Duvivier said. "They are carried out at fairly regular intervals, but remain rare because the real missile, without its warhead, is fired," he added.

Deterrence theory gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons. It took on a unique connotation during this time as an inferior nuclear

The 11-hour mission, which included refuelling, tested all phases of an attack mission involving a Rafale warplane.

"These real strikes are scheduled in the life of the weapons' system," French air force spokesman Colonel Cyrille Duvivier said. "They are carried out at fairly regular intervals, but remain rare because the real missile, without its warhead, is fired."

It did not say when the test was carried out, and officials declined to say how often they take place.

The mission comes as Paris looks to ensure its long-term nuclear dissuasion programme, with Europe increasingly worried about security as tensions rise between Washington and Moscow.

Paris is also concerned over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and Iran's ballistic missile capabilities.

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The Force de frappe (French for: strike force), or Force de dissuasion after 1961, is the designation of what used to be a triad of air-, sea- and land-based nuclear weapons intended for dissuasion, the French term for deterrence .

The concept of nuclear deterrence follows the rationale of the 'first user' principle: states reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in self-defence against an armed attack threatening their vital security interests. The last of the RAF's WE177 nuclear bombs were taken out of service in March that year.

France spends about 3.5 billion euros ($4 billion) annually on maintaining its 300-strong submarine and air nuclear weapons stockpile. It plans to modernise its capacity to spend 5 billion euros a year by 2020.

It put an end to nuclear weapons testing in 1996 after a test in the South Pacific sparked global outrage and has since become a signatory of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The simulation comes after Russia suspended the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty following the United States' announcement it would withdraw from the pact, accusing Moscow of violations.

The 32-year-old treaty required parties to destroy ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 km (310 to 3,420 miles).

Paris urged Russia on Friday to use the six-month period triggered by the United States' decision to comply with its obligations under the accord.

"We Europeans cannot remain spectators of our own security," French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said on Tuesday at a conference in Portugal.

($1 = 0.8758 euros) (Reporting by John Irish and Sophie Louet; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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