PLUTON gallery

Pluton was a SRBM or ground attack tactical missile. They had a range of 120 km and replaced the US Honest John missile, deployed in France from 1959 to 1966. Their main role was to stop the invasion of Germany or France by forces from the Warsaw Pact. They were deployed in the east and north of France in the3rd, 4th, 15th, 32nd and 74th Artillery Regiments, and with the 19th instruction Regiment at the end of its career. Here we see one of the VT test vehicles during the development stage.
The warhead installed on the missile was the AN-51 CTC, (charge tactique commune, or common tactical charge). It was a pure plutonium fission device which was available with two yield variants, one of 15 kt or one of 25 kt. This warhead weighed about 500 kg and in total 70 units were manufactured. These warheads were withdrawn along with the missiles in 1993. This image shows another VT test vehicle with the missile at maximum elevation.
Pluton missile had inertial guidance, reached a maximum speed of Mach 3.25, 30,000 meters ceiling and its CEP, (circular error probability), was about 200 meters, which made it an accurate missile for the time. Although work began in 1983 for an improved variant, called “Super Pluton“, it ended up abandoning in favor of a new longer-range missile that would culminate in the Hades missile, with 480 km range. In the picture another of the VT vehicles launching a test missile during the development stage.
The missile was divided into three separate sections that were assembled just before firing. They were: the warhead, the fuselage with the engine system and the control surfaces and the nuclear device. All these components were transported separately, the warhead and the nuclear charge on one side and the fuselage on the other. Finally, everything was assembled about 45 minutes before being fired. This  action was carried out in about 10 minutes, after inserting the target data and carrying out the firing sequence.
Pluton‘s firing equipment consisted of Iris 35-M 16kb computer-calculators with special magnetic core memory designed to operate in harsh environments. This launchers were complemented with CT-20 or CL-289 types UAV that provided updated target information before the misile launching. The explosion of the missile could be programmed, either by touching the ground or an aerial explosion, depending on the type of target.
The transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) was derived from the AMX-30D armoured recovery vehicle, with the same superstructure and Griffet crane itself. At the rear side it had a hydraulic device that raised the 3,700 kg missile’s container-launcher. During transport, the missile rested on the platform located over the vehicle’s engine. The missile was only installed in the launcher to travel short distances, for distant deployments, the missile was transported in trucks to the firing area.
The mobile launcher was of relatively lightweight, and allowed the deployment in any type of terrain. Between 1974 and 1978 five regiments deployed in Aube (3rd), Aisne (4th), Marne (15th), Bas-Rhin (32nd) and Bourgogne (74th) were implemented. Each Regiment was composed by a command and control battery, three firing batteries and a nuclear safety and transportation battery. The last unit to use the Pluton missile was the 19th Instruccion Regiment, located in Provence.
Pluton missile belonged to the Force de Frappe, (dissuasive force), for 20 years. It was replaced in the first line units since 1993 by Hades missile, and since 1997 the Force de Frappe does not have any terrestrial nuclear weapons. Since then, the French dissuasion force falls over the shoulders of the Triomphant class ballistic nuclear submarines and Rafale M and Mirage 2000N aircrafts.

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