With 3 SSBNs at sea, the French deterrence posture at its highest since 1983

There are unmistakable signs of the level of tension that exists between the West and Russia, against the backdrop of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Thus, barely a few days after the launch of what is presented by Moscow as a "Special Military Operation", and which is obviously turning into a nightmare for the Russian armies, the Kremlin had announced the heightened alert of its forces. of deterrence. If at the time, the Western nuclear powers had not publicly raised the threat so as not to aggravate the situation, they nonetheless drew their own conclusions. Thus, we learn today that France has deployed 3 of its 4 ballistic missile nuclear submarines to the seas, the key ships of French deterrence, each carrying 16 M51 intercontinental missiles capable of carrying 6 to 10 100 Kt nuclear warheads, a level of deterrence never reached since the euromissile crisis in 1983, often considered one of the two Cold War culmination with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

In peacetime, the French Navy permanently deploys a single SSBN at sea to guarantee the security of France. A second vessel of the same type is kept on alert and must be able to set sail within 24 hours in the event of a crisis. The third ship ensures a 30-day alert, and its crew is in training. Finally, the last building is undergoing scheduled maintenance. Alongside the SSBNs of the Strategic Oceanic Force, or FOST, two Air and Space Force squadrons, the 1/4 Gascogne and the 2/4 Lafayette equipped with Rafale B specially adapted for the nuclear mission , provide the air component of deterrence, with the ability to strike a target several thousand kilometers away with their ASMPA supersonic missiles. Finally, the French naval aviation also has the capacity to implement this same missile from certain Rafale M on board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Today, obviously, all of these French deterrent capabilities are on alert, even if we do not know whether or not ASMPA missiles were actually on board the Charles de Gaulle today on a mission in Mediterranean.

Each French SSBN of the Triomphant class carries 16 SLBM M51 missiles with a range of 10.000 km capable of carrying 6 to 10 autonomous atmospheric re-entry vehicles carrying a 100 Kt nuclear charge.

This revelation comes as the Russian military intervention in Ukraine continues to meet with very strong resistance from Ukrainian defenders, and that on several lines of contact, it even seems that the initiative has changed sides. Thus, the Ukrainian armed forces have managed, in recent days, to carry out some brilliant actions, such as the destruction of more than a dozen Russian air force helicopters at the Kherson air base, or even the release of the mayor of Melitopol from the hands of Russian forces. Above all, the Russian losses continue to accumulate beyond what the deployed military force cannot support. Thus, according to US intelligence, it is now more than 7000 Russian soldiers who have lost their lives since February 24 in Ukraine, i.e. a total of losses that can be estimated at more than 25.000 men taking into account the wounded, the prisoners (Ukraine announces more than 1.000 prisoners of war), and desertions.


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