France upgrades nuclear arsenal in wake of French President Jacques Chirac’s warning – Liberation
French paper’s military source reports two major changes: nuclear bombs can now be fired at high altitude to create an “electromagnetic impulsion” to destroy the enemy’s computer and communications system; and the number of nuclear warheads has been cut down to enhance the missiles’ range and precision.
Chirac last month warned that states promoting terror and threatening France could face nuclear retaliation.
debkafile‘s military sources interpreted those states as Iran and other countries hosting terrorists in the Middle East or Far East
The French president also said: “The number of nuclear warheads has been reduced in certain of the missiles in our submarines.”
French submarines carry 16 French-made M45 missiles, each fitted with six nuclear warheads. On being fired, each warhead separates to hit a different target, in effect giving each submarine 96 bombs.
By reducing the number of warheads to one per missile, the weapon is lighter, has a longer range and is more accurate.
French defense minister said the reduction of nuclear warheads “are aimed at better taking into account the psychology of the enemy.” She added: “A potential enemy may think that France, given its principles, might hesitate to use nuclear weapons against civilian populations. We now have “…the possibility to target the control centers of an eventual enemy.”
It is now capable of firing a relatively weak warhead into a deserted zone far from centers of power and habitation where terrorists may hide their rear command bases.