France is a declared nuclear weapons state, and is one of the five
states authorized to possess nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty. Maintaining a clear policy for an independent deterrent, France
withdrew from the NATO integrated command structure in 1961, and only rejoined
In 2009, the French
Armament Procurement Agency confirmed
that it accepted the space-based SPIRALE early warning system demonstrator. That
same year, France embarked on a joint venture with Italy and the UK for the
development of the Principal
Anti-Air Missile System(PAAMS).
designed as a defense against aircraft and sea skimming anti-ship missiles, but
has since proven that it can intercept ballistic missiles using its Aster 15
and Aster 30 interceptors. In November 2011, a French naval vessel successfully
intercepted an Israeli-built “Black Sparrow” test missile.
In July of 2011, a French parliamentary committee published a report
recommending that France become a “major contributor” to any NATO missile
defense projects, stating that “(k)eeping France’s autonomy in technologies
needed for missile defense…is worth the investment.”
On September 16, 2013, the Singapore Defense Minister announced
that Singapore Armed Forces would be purchasing the Aster 30 Surface to Air
Missile System. The Defense Minister said that the Aster 30 is “many times more
potent” than its current I-Hawk system, and “would provide a layered air
France operates its PAAM (Principal Anti-Air Missile System)
jointly with Italy and the UK, deploying Aster 15 short
to medium range missiles and Aster 30 short to long-range missiles.
France also has in place a space-based infrared preparatory
warning system. The system uses two satellites that detect ballistic missile
launches via their infrared heat signatures.
Updated February 14, 2014