Naval Air: French Navy Foregoes Nukes

August 9, 2009: France revealed that it no longer carried nuclear weapons on its warships, particularly its nuclear aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle. The only exception is the nuclear weapons fitted to the ballistic missiles carried by its SSBNs. All other major navies stopped carrying nuclear weapons on their warships during the early 1990s, after the Cold War ended. At that time, there were over 6,000 nuclear weapons afloat, mounted in anti-aircraft missiles, torpedoes, depth charges, cruise missiles and bombs. Only four nations were so armed; the U.S., Russia, Britain and France. The last nuclear weapon France carried on its carriers was a warhead for the ASMP cruise missile, which was launched by Rafale carrier based fighters. The ASMP had a range of about 500 kilometers. France has gradually withdrawn the nukes from the ships, keeping them in bunkers at ports, so that ships could rapidly have the nukes loaded aboard once more, if needed.

 

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