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Test firing of V-MAX brings France into exclusive club of countries with hypersonic missiles


France has achieved a significant milestone in its defense capabilities as the country successfully conducted the first flight test of its hypersonic glider missile, V-MAX. With this achievement, France joins an exclusive club of nations possessing hypersonic missile technology, which includes major players such as the United States, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, and possibly North Korea.

The French Ministry of Armed Forces made the exciting announcement on Tuesday, June 27, revealing the completion of the inaugural test for the hypersonic glider missile. The unique design of V-MAX, with its glider-shaped structure, allows the missile to achieve an unpredictable trajectory and reach speeds exceeding Mach 5, equivalent to over 6,000 kilometers per hour. The hypersonic speed and evasive flight path make it incredibly challenging to intercept, bolstering France’s defense capabilities considerably.

Sébastien Lecornu, the Armed Forces Minister, expressed his enthusiasm, hailing the test as “a new milestone on the road to France’s mastery of hypervelocity.” The successful flight of V-MAX marks a crucial advancement in the nation’s pursuit of hypersonic technology.

The V-MAX launch took place from Biscarosse, the test center operated by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) in France’s southwestern Landes region. A specially constructed base facilitated the launch, which occurred at approximately 10 pm on June 26. In anticipation of the event, French authorities issued a multi-day warning for sea and air traffic in a vast 2,000-kilometer area surrounding the launch site to ensure safety and security during the critical test.

As customary with such tests, French armed forces have chosen to remain tight-lipped about the outcome of the inaugural flight. The Ministry of Defence released a brief statement stating that “technical analyses of the numerous data recovered throughout the test are underway to draw lessons for further experimental flights.” The V-MAX missile incorporates cutting-edge on-board technological innovations, hinting at the substantial progress achieved by French defense experts.

The V-MAX program’s development has been a long and challenging journey, culminating in this successful test. Officially initiated in 2019, the initial flight testing for the V-MAX launcher was initially scheduled for as early as 2021. However, due to technical and budgetary considerations, the mission’s public reactivation faced delays until earlier this year. General Delegate for Armaments, Emmanuel Chiva, had previously expressed his desire to witness a successful demonstration before the year’s end, and now that aspiration has come to fruition.

France’s entry into the exclusive club of countries with hypersonic missiles further solidifies its position as a significant player in the global defense arena. The successful V-MAX test opens up new possibilities for the country’s defense strategy and strengthens its deterrence capabilities against potential threats.

As France celebrates this monumental achievement, the world awaits further updates on the development and deployment of V-MAX, keeping a keen eye on the nation’s advancements in hypersonic technology.

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