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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Hadès is a short range, road mobile, solid propellant, single warhead ballistic missile. Hades began with project definition in 1975 as a replacement for the Pluton system. Development started in July 1984, and flight testing started in 1988. The Hadès program planned to build 120 missiles, some with nuclear and some with HE warheads. Originally designed with a range of 250 km, the range requirement was later increased to 480 km. Reports in 1993 suggested that a reversion to the 250 km range missile, but with a hard target HE penetration warhead and a GPS mid-course updating of the inertial navigation system, would provide an accurate and difficult to counter offensive weapon system. A TV digital scene matching terminal guidance system has also been proposed, providing a CEP down to less than 5 m.

Hadès was designed for transportation on wheeled TELs, with tractor and trailer, each trailer carrying two missiles in containers that also act as launch boxes. The missile is reported to be 7.5 m long, with a body diameter of 0.53 m and a launch weight of about 1850 kg. The missiles will be capable of carrying either the nuclear TN-90 or conventional HE warheads, the former probably having a yield of 80 kT. Reports suggest that the Hades trajectory is kept low, so that the aerodynamic control fins at the rear of the missile can alter the trajectory and range during flight as well as making evasive maneuvres during the terminal phase near the target.

The program completed development in 1992, with the first flight test taking place in 1988. It was planned that Hades would enter service in 1992, and that only 30 missiles on 15 TEL vehicles would be built instead of the original plan to build 120 missiles. In 1991 the French Government announced that the Hades missiles would not be deployed, but kept in storage, and the programme was terminated in 1992. However, 20 to 25 missiles were available in a national emergency with their mobile TEL vehicles, and were all located at Luneville.

On 23 February 1996, the announcement by the President of France on the new format for French nuclear forces called for dismantling of Hadès missiles. On 23 June 1997, the last of the Hadès missiles was destroyed.

Prime contractor Aérospatiale, Space and Strategic Systems Division, Les Mureaux
Length 7.5 m
Body diameter 0.53 m
Launch weight 1850 kg
Payload Single warhead
Warhead Conventional HE or nuclear 80 kT
Guidance Inertial
Propulsion Single stage solid propellant
Range 480 km
Accuracy n/k

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:39:49 ZULU