French Nuclear Forces

More from this August document:

A) Status and reduction of nuclear arsenals and forces 

1) Reduction of the size of French deterrent forces 

(a) In keeping with the principle of strict sufficiency, France maintains its arsenal at the lowest level possible in the light of the strategic context and the foreseeable evolution of the threat. French nuclear forces are currently divided into two complementary components: 

• Seaborne component. Four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, based at Île Longue and equipped with M51 intercontinental ballistic missiles, provide continuous at-sea deterrence. 

• Airborne component. This comprises Rafale aircraft carrying improved medium-range air-to-surface missiles that could be operated from French soil by the air and space force or, depending on the circumstances, from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier by the navy. 

The President of the Republic has decided to renovate these two components, which will allow the permanence, credibility and strict sufficiency of the French nuclear deterrent forces to be maintained. 

As stated by the President on 7 February 2020, France has a total of fewer than 300 nuclear warheads. It has no weapons in reserve

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