|During the cold war, France had a three component nuclear force :
- land based strategic missiles : Plateau d'albion
- air strike nuclear capability (mirage IV P)
- 6 SSBN inflexible class
Since then, land based missiles have been eliminated, mirage IV P were replaced with mirage 2000 N and 6 Inflexible class SSBN were replaced by 4 Triomphant class SSBN, the last being launched this week.
Nicolas Sarkozy announced today that the number of nuclear warhead woul be reduced to 300, cuting a third of the air component capability. As mirage 2000 N will be replaced by Rafale N, the number of aircraft and missiles will be reduced to be "strictly sufficient".
having a nuclear capability is very costly and since no immediate threat of a full scale invasion remains, i think this makes sense. anyway, 300 x 250 kt warheads are more than sufficient and the real challenge is more about having top notch delivery means (missiles, submarines, aircrafts).