Air-Sol Moyenne Portée
|Type||medium-range nuclear air-to-surface missile|
|Place of origin||France|
|In service||May 1986|
|Warhead||TN 81 nuclear warhead, 150 kt or 300 kt of TNT (variable yield)|
|300 km (500+km for ASMP-A version)|
|Speed||up to Mach 3|
|Dassault Mirage IV, Dassault Mirage 2000N, Dassault Rafale, and Dassault Super Étendard|
The Air-Sol Moyenne Portée (ASMP; medium-range air to surface missile) is a French nuclear air-launched cruise missile. In French nuclear doctrine it is called a "pre-strategic" weapon, the last-resort "warning shot" prior to a full-scale employment of strategic nuclear weapons. The missile's construction was contracted to Aérospatiale's Tactical Missile Division, now part of MBDA. The missile cost $600 million to develop.
ASMP entered service in May 1986, replacing the earlier free-fall AN-22 bomb on France's Dassault Mirage IV aircraft and the AN-52 bomb on Dassault Super Étendard. About 84 weapons are stockpiled. Carrier aircraft are the Dassault Mirage 2000N, Rafale, and Super Étendard; the earlier Mirage IVA was retired in 1996, although Mirage IVP photo reconnaissance aircraft continued in French Air Force service until 2005.
ASMPA is 5.38 m long and weighs 860 kg. It is a supersonic standoff missile powered by a liquid fuel ramjet. It flies at Mach 2 to Mach 3, with a range between 80 km and 300 km (ASMP)/ 500 km (ASMPA) depending on flight profile. Warhead was a single a single 300 kt of TNT TN 81 for ASMP, and a single 300 kt of TNT Airborne Nuclear Warhead (TNA). Both ASMP/TN81 and ASMPA/TNA has a declared destructive power of 300 kilotonnes. This amounts to over 20 times the power of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and caused some 250 000 deaths then or in the aftermath. In comparison, therefore, each ASMPA missile could by itself cause 5 million deaths (not counting wounded) and annihilate the population of a city like Paris and its agglomeration.
In 1991, 90 missiles and 80 warheads were reported to have been produced. By 2001, 60 were operational.
An advanced version known as Air-Sol Moyenne Portée-Amélioré ASMP-A has a range of about 500 kilometres (310 mi) at a speed of up to Mach 3 with the new TNA (tête nucléaire aéroportée) 300kt thermonuclear warhead. It entered service in October 2009 with the Mirage 2000NK3 of squadron EC 3/4 at Istres and on July 2010 with the Rafales of squadron EC 1/91 at Saint Dizier.
The studies for the successor to the ASMP-A, dubbed ASN4G, have already begun. ASN4G refers to air-sol nucléaire fourth-generation. The aim is to design a missile capable of hypersonic speeds (Mach 7-8)
- Dickson, David (12 February 1988). "Anglo-French nuclear missile under study". Science. Retrieved 22 August 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (. ))
- "French Air Force evaluates ASMPA enhanced stand-off missile". date=1 July 2001. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- "Latest Vintage from Champagne: New Rafale jets now carrying new ASMP-A missiles and new TNA nuclear warheads!" (PDF). date=25 September 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- Norris, Robert S.; Arkin, William M.; Kristensen, Hans M.; Handler, Joshua (1 July 2001). "French Nuclear Forces, 2001". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 23 June 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (. ))
- Robert Hewson, "French ASMP-A missile enters service". Jane's Defence Weekly. July 14, 2010, p. 14.
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