A French intermediate range nuclear ballistic missile was publicly displayed for the first time on Friday (July 14) in the annual Bastille Day parade of military might down the Champs Elysees in Paris.
A French intermediate range nuclear ballistic missile was publicly displayed for the first time on Friday (July 14) in the annual Bastille Day parade of military might down the Champs Elysees in Paris. The missile was accompanied by a capsule designed to contain its 150-kiloton nuclear warhead.
The parade, which marked the 183rd anniversary of the French revolution in which the monarchy was toppled, was attended by President Georges Pompidou and the new Prime Minister, Pierre Messmer. It was also watched by thousands of Frenchmen and foreign tourists.
SYNOPSIS: France celebrated the one-hundred-and-eighty-third anniversary of the French revolution which toppled the monarchy, in its annual Bastille Day military parade down the Champs Elysees on Friday. President Pompidou was the guest of honour, and inspected the Presidential Guard on his arrival before taking to the reviewing stand.
About one-hundred-and-eighty aircraft, ranging from the latest Mirage Jet fighters to military helicopters, took part in the ninety-minute parade. National pride was evident -- for jet fighters don't normally emit large clouds of smoke in the French national colours of blue, white and red.
Start of the show was an intermediate range nuclear ballistic missile of France's second-generation nuclear strike force, being shown to the public for the first time. The tan-coloured missile, watched by thousands of Frenchmen and foreign tourists, was followed by a capsule designed to contain its one-hundred-and-fifty-kiloton nuclear warhead. The three-stage missile has a three-thousand-kilometre range (that's one-thousand-nine-hundred-miles), weighs thirty tons and is twenty-three-metres (seventy feet) long.
Among the forces taking part were the relief crew of the nuclear submarine "Le Terrible", armed with Polaris-type missiles, which was undergoing deep-sea diving tests before becoming fully operational.
Cavalry, much in the style of Napoleonic days, contrasted strangely with the modern army which preceded it. But one famous element was missing from the parade -- the French Foreign Legion. The Legionnaires took part last year for the first time since their disgrace when some units joined rebel army officers in an attempt to keep Algeria as French territory more than ten years ago. But their absence wasn't officially explained this year.