France and weapons of mass destruction

France is one of the five "Nuclear Weapons States" under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, but is not known to possess or develop any chemical or biological weapons.[4][5] France was the fourth country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon, doing so in 1960 under the government of Charles de Gaulle. The French military is currently thought to retain a weapons stockpile of around 300[6] operational (deployed) nuclear warheads, making it the third-largest in the world, speaking in terms of warheads, not megatons.[7] The weapons are part of the national Force de frappe, developed in the late 1950s and 1960s to give France the ability to distance itself from NATO while having a means of nuclear deterrence under sovereign control.

France
First nuclear weapon testFebruary 13, 1960
First thermonuclear weapon testAugust 23, 1968
Last nuclear testJanuary 27, 1996
Largest yield test2.6 Mt (August 24, 1968)
Total tests210
Peak stockpile540 (in 1992)
Current stockpile300 warheads (2018)[1][2]
Current strategic arsenal280 usable warheads (2016)[1]
Cumulative strategic arsenal in megatonnage~51.6[3]
Maximum missile range~8000-10000km/5000-6250mi (M51 SLBM)
NPT partyYes (1992, one of five recognized powers)

France did not sign the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which gave it the option to conduct further nuclear tests until it signed and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996 and 1998 respectively. France denies currently having chemical weapons, ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1995, and acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1984. France had also ratified the Geneva Protocol in 1926.


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