Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States
Appendix III: Unclassified Working Papers
System Planning Corporation: "Non-Proliferation Issues"
As one of the world's five declared nuclear powers, France currently
possesses the ability to deliver MIRVed ICBM's and SLBM's to targets
anywhere in the world. France has developed this capability from an
aerospace industry that is one of the most technologically advanced in the
world. In addition to producing state of the art ballistic and aerodynamic
missiles, and fighter aircraft, France has been the most powerful force
behind the Ariane generation of space launch vehicles, including, Ariane-5.
Since the end of the Cold War, France's defense budget has declined
steadily. It appears that this trend will continue in the future, as the
nation will further reduce its military procurement and manpower levels. To
compensate for this drop off in domestic defense spending, French defense
conglomerates have looked to the international arena as a market for its
exports. In recent years, France has established itself as one of the
world's preeminent arms suppliers.
Although it appears that France has attempted to implement new export
control mechanisms since the end of the Gulf War to prevent the spread of
WMD and their delivery systems, some questions remain about France's
ability to halt the spread of its ballistic missile and SLV technology. If
domestic procurement levels in France continue to decline, French defense
conglomerates will almost certainly continue to look to exports to ensure
their vitality and profitability. In the future, France may be forced to
alter its current export control system if France is to ensure that its
exports are not used to create WMD or their delivery systems.
But more importantly, France must be able to control the spread of Ariane
generation space launch technology as the European Space Agency establishes
partnerships with nations such as Russia, Japan, and the CIS states. If
France is unable to effectively control the spread of Ariane rocket and
propulsion technology, nations with hostile intentions towards the United
States may ultimately gain access to critical technology that will aid the
development of their own ballistic missile capabilities.
There is a wide body of unclassified information that describes the
structure of France's defense industry, its arms export policies, and its
ballistic and aerodynamic missile capabilities. Virtually all of these
sources, which are typically journal and newspaper articles, government
reports and academic articles, are descriptive in nature. None of the
sources offer an analysis of how France's military capabilities,
particularly the developments in France's aerodynamic and ballistic missile
capabilities, may affect U.S. security in the coming years.
Much of the same can be said about the literature that examines France's
space programs, including France's participation in the European Space
Agency (ESA), and its cooperative ventures with non-ESA members. This body
of literature is comprised of ESA press releases and journal articles. It
is purely descriptive and does not offer any analysis of how France's
space-related endeavors will affect the U.S.'s national security.
The body of literature that examines France's export controls is very
limited. This study was able to find two works that deal with this subject.
These include a 1994 report by the American Bar Association Task Force on
Nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction entitled, "Beyond CoCom - A
Comparative Study of Export Controls: Germany, United Kingdom, France,
Italy and Japan and the European Union Export Control Regulation," and an
article published in 1994 by Marie Helene Labbe, "French Export Control
In general, the American Bar Association Report is highly descriptive in
nature. It describes the organization and structure of France's export
control policies, as well as the statutory requirements of France's export
control laws. Labbe's article, however, is more analytical. It examines the
political importance of export controls in France and analyzes how the
defense industry and the French Government interact on this subject. The
study also draws several conclusions about the strong points and weaknesses
of the French system.
Neither Labbe's study nor the ABA report, however, analyze how the
weaknesses in France's export control system affect the national security
of the United States.
France's Defense Industry: Domestic Structure, Arms Exports, and Future
Charles de Gaulle established the foundation on which France's military
infrastructure currently stands. This was done in order to retain French
self-sufficiency and to reduce France's dependence
on American armaments. To further such goals, de Gaulle strengthened the
Ministry of Defense to oversee France's defense activities. The Ministry of
Defense supervises virtually all French defense activities, including,
weapons procurement and arms sales.
Today, France possesses one of the largest and most technologically
advanced defense industries in the world. In 1997, the U.S. Arms Control
and Disarmament Agency estimated that France allocated nearly $48 billion
to defense activities, making France the fifth largest defense spender in
the world behind the United States, Russia, PRC and Japan. 1
As a result of its long-standing commitment to national defense, France has
developed the capability indigenously to produce virtually any kind of
armament. This ability has made France one of the world leaders in the
aerospace sector. It produces state-of-the-art fighter aircraft, including
the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. The French have also used their aerospace
ingenuity to develop highly advanced ballistic and aerodynamic missile
systems. France has produced several different types of SLBM's, and IRBM's
that can carry both single-warhead and MIRVed nuclear warheads, as well as
air-launched cruise missiles that can be armed with nuclear warheads of up
to 300 kT.
Since the end of the Cold War, France's military expenditures and domestic
procurement levels have fallen like those of all the other nations of
Western Europe. President Jacques Chirac has announced plans to reduce the
size of the Army by one-third, and the Navy and Air Force by 25 percent
over the next five years. 2 As a result of these defense cut-backs, France
has downsized and restructured its military industrial base and has
emphasized that multinational consolidation will be necessary to ensure the
future prominence of France's defense industry.
In December 1997, France, Germany and the U.K announced a political
initiative to consolidate European aerospace/defense activities. The Prime
Ministers of these nations issued a joint statement declaring that their
new plans for "civil and military programs should lead to European
integration based on balanced partnership." 3 European defense industry
executives praised the initiative. They asserted that such consolidation
would allow European companies to compete more effectively with America's
giant defense companies in the international market. Still, consolidation
will have its limits. Cooperation on combat aircraft, for example, will
remain outside the scope of this agreement for the time being. 4
Despite the absence of cooperation for fighter aircraft, France has
collaborated extensively with the United States and its European partners
on tactical missile development. In fact, in 1996 the French conglomerate
Lagardere Groupe combined its missile-making activities with British
Aerospace PLC to form Europe's largest missile manufacturer, Matra BAE
Dynamics. This company is now the world's third largest missile producer
with revenues of more than $2 billion. 5
In recent years, France has cooperated with both the United States and its
European allies on several aerospace defense initiatives, most notably, the
Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). In January 1995, the United
States, Germany, France, and Italy signed a statement of intent to merge
their extended air defense programs and to jointly develop and produce a
ballistic missile defense capability that will be lightweight,
transportable and effective against a variety of tactical threats. Although
France has recently terminated its involvement in the program, its
technical contributions have been assimilated into the program's
development. At this juncture it is not known whether France will purchase
the system once it is ready for deployment, but it is unlikely to do so. 6
French Arms Sales
Although French defense conglomerates like Aerospatiale, Matra and Thompson
CSF have more diversified operations and have been considerably less
dependent on domestic weapons procurement than their American counterparts,
in recent years the French defense industry has been forced to rely heavily
on weapons exports to make up for lost revenue in the domestic market. 7 In
1995, France was the fourth largest exporter of armaments in the world. Its
$2.2 billion in sales accounted for 23 percent of Western Europe's exports
and seven percent of the world market. 8 During the 1990's, the Middle East
has been the largest importer of French armaments, with Saudi Arabia and
Egypt accounting for a large percentage of French imports to the region.
France has exported a wide range of military equipment abroad, including
aerospace hardware and technology. Based on France's future defense outlook
which calls for further manpower reductions and declining procurement
budgets, the nation will almost certainly continue to look to the
international arena as a market for its armaments. If France remains one of
the world's primary suppliers of weapons, the possibility exists that
hostile nations may gain access to French ballistic missiles and aerospace
technology that may one day affect U.S. national security.
French Ballistic and Aerodynamic Missile Capabilities
The following sections offer a brief description of France's ballistic and
aerodynamic missile capabilities, as well as specific missile systems that
the French are currently developing. 9
France began development on the Hades shorter-range ballistic missile
program in 1983 to find a successor to the Pluton System. The missile was
designed for transportation on wheeled TEL's, accompanied by a tractor and
trailer. Each trailer was designed to carry two missiles in containers that
also served as launch boxes.
The missile made its first test flight in 1988, and was scheduled for
production in 1992. In 1991, however, the French government announced that
the missile would not be deployed, but kept in storage for use at a later
date if needed. President Chirac announced in 1996 that the missiles would
The unclassified body of literature suggests that this single-stage
ballistic missile has a maximum range of 480 km, and can carry either a
single conventional HE warhead or the nuclear TN-90 warhead with a yield of
approximately 80 kT. Based on Hades range and payload specifications, any
transfer of this missile or its technology would be in violation of the
The S-3 is a two-stage, solid propellant, silo-based intermediate-range
ballistic missile with a range of 3000 km. The S-3 program, which was
designed as the successor to the S-2, the cornerstone of France's land
based strategic missile systems, was started in 1973. The missile carries a
single TN61 nuclear warhead with a yield of 1.2 MT in its 1000 kg payload.
The French government announced in 1996 that the S-3 would be taken out of
service and deactivated. By September 1996, all 18 of the missiles were
formally deactivated, and are scheduled to be dismantled.
The M-4, the fourth generation missile in the MSBS
(Mer-Sol-Balistique-Strategique) family, currently is deployed on four
French SSBN's. The first test launch of the missile took place in November
1980. The M-4 entered service in 1985.
The M-4 is a submarine launched, intermediate range ballistic missile that
is capable of carrying 6 re-entry vehicles in MIRV configuration. There are
reportedly two different versions of the missile, the M-4A, which has a
range of 4000 km, and the M-4B, with a range of 5000 km. However, in 1986,
a French boat test-fired an M-4 over a distance of 6,000 km. The weight of
the payload for this flight, however, is not known, and some believe that
this was the first test flight of the longer range M-45 missile.
The M-4's TN-70 or TN-71 warheads have a yield of approximately 150 kT, and
weigh 250 kg. Five French nuclear submarines are currently in service, with
each carrying up to 16 missiles. These include four SSBN's of the older Le
Redoutable class, and
Le Triomphant, the lead submarine of a new class SSBN.
The M-45 is a longer range version of the M-4, with a range of
approximately 6,000 km. Like the M-4, this three-stage missile carries six
150 KT re-entry vehicles in MIRV configuration. It is believed that this
missile entered service in 1996, having been fitted on Le Triomphant.
There was considerable speculation that the M-45 was going to replace the
eighteen S-3 silo-based missiles that were scheduled for dismantlement in
1996. This idea was dismissed, however, after the French decided that the
S-3's were not going to be replaced.
France began development of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, the
M-5, in 1992. In 1996, the government announced that it would instead
develop the less expensive M-51, that will replace the M-4 and M-45 between
2010 and 2015. The M-51 will be a three-stage solid propellant ballistic
missile with a range estimated to be approximately 10,000 km. Like the M-4
and M-45, the M-51 will carry six Multiple Independent targeted Re-entry
Vehicles with yields of 150 kT. In addition to possessing modern
penetration aids, the bus vehicle will have greater flexibility in
releasing the MIRVs, thus increasing its accuracy.
Air-Launched Cruise Missiles
France currently possesses the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead to
targets by Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM). France has had this capacity
for at least eleven years, and is developing a new generation of ALCM's to
ensure this capability in the future. 10
In 1976, France began development of the ASMP air launched cruise missile
to provide a successor to the AN-22 nuclear bomb carried by the Mirage IV.
Although the missile was originally designed to be carried by the Mirage
2000N, the missile has been modified for carriage by the Mirage IVP and the
Super Etendard aircraft.
The ASMP is powered by a liquid-fueled ramjet engine that can propel a 300
kT TN-80 or TN-81 nuclear warhead to a range of
250 km when launched at high altitudes, or 80 km at lower altitudes. In
addition, in 1993 the ASMP's lead contractor Aerospatiale proposed a
conventional version of the missile called the ASMP-C or Asura, that could
strike targets up to 400 km away.
According to one unclassified source, approximately 100 operational ASMP's
have been put in service since the missile entered service in 1986. There
are no known exports of this missile, although its transfer would not be
violation of the MTCR's parameters.
The French government revealed in 1996 that it plans to replace all active
ASMP missiles with a new missile called the ASMP Plus. The missile is
expected to have a similar propulsion system to the ASMP, and will cruise
at M2.5 on a low-high-low trajectory. The ASMP Plus, however, is expected
to have a longer range than the ASMP, and could be used to strike targets
as far as 500 km away with a 300KT warhead. It will be carried by the
Mirage 2000N, Super Entendard, or Rafale.
French Space Initiatives
France was the third nation behind the United States and USSR to develop an
independent space launch capability and significant space-imagery systems.
11 The nation currently possesses one of the most technologically advanced
space programs in the world, and the most advanced in Europe. In this
regard, France has developed advanced space launch, telecommunications and
earth observation ability through the nation's two largest aerospace firms,
Aerospatiale and Matra Marconi Space. Although France has considered in
recent years to develop a NASA-like organization to direct its aerospace
and aeronautical programs, its current space initiatives are coordinated by
the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). In addition to overseeing
French space policy, CNES often aids in the creation of corporations and
other private sector initiatives that may aid France's space activities.
Past companies have included Arianespace, the manufacturer of the Ariane
launcher family, and Spot Image, which develops earth observation
European Space Agency
France is arguably the most important nation in the European Space Agency
(ESA) an organization created in 1975 to replace the European Launcher
Development Organization (ELDO) and the European Space Research
Organization (ESRO). France contributes more than 45 percent of its space
budget to ESA, which in turn accounts for roughly 25 percent of ESA's total
This organization was created "to provide for and to promote, for
exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space
research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their
being used for scientific purposes and operational space application
systems." ESA attempts to implement a long-term European space policy that
will allow the nations of Europe to both become and remain competitive
forces in the field of space technology. In addition to implementing such
space plans, the Agency encourages competition and innovation in Europe's
space industry, and attempts to ensure that each ESA member nation receives
a return on its investment in both a financial and technological sense.
France and International Space Cooperation
While France collaborates on a wide range of space-related issues with its
fellow ESA member states, it has also engaged in cooperative ventures with
other nations attempting to advance their space capabilities. 13 In
addition to engaging in cooperative ventures with both the United States
and Japan, France is currently the world's leading collaborator with Russia
and the CIS nations, thus allowing these states access to a wide variety of
space technology, including, technology associated with the Ariane space
launch vehicle. 14 Furthermore, both France and ESA have enhanced their
cooperation with developing countries. Such endeavors have included setting
up a network for transmitting weather and environmental data for the
Although France is the most influential member of ESA, and is by far the
most active ESA member in arranging cooperative agreements with other
nations, some have suggested that the French should further expand the
scope of their space collaboration with other nations. In June 1997, the
Paris-based Economic and Social Council issued a report to the French
government calling for the closer integration of French and European space
activities. In addition to calling for the establishment of a new entity
similar to that of the U.S.'s National Space Council which would define a
common European space strategy, the group also urged France to adopt a
multi-year budget for space activities, and suggested enhancing the synergy
between civil and military space programs. Furthermore, the group asserted
that France should expand the scope of its collaborative efforts with
non-ESA members like Japan and the CIS states in order to counterbalance
the U.S.'s great space superiority. 15 There is no information suggesting
that the French Government has ever responded to this report.
French Space Launch Systems: The Ariane Family
Throughout the 1960's and early 1970's, France and the member states of ESA
realized the need for both an ambitious and independent space program that
would be centered around the capability to independently develop a space
launch vehicle. France and the other ESA members put their plans into
motion in July 1973 when they announced that Europe would seek this
capability through the Ariane class space launch vehicle, a system that
would combine the technological know-how of Europe's national programs, and
ultimately provide ESA members with their own access to space.
French ingenuity and technical know-how has been an indispensable element
in the creation of the Ariane family of space launch vehicle. Not only has
France provided a significant amount of the funding for the Ariane system,
but the French aerospace giant Aerospatiale has been the prime contractor
for the rocket program since its beginning.
The first successful launch of an Ariane-1 took place on December 24, 1979.
The missile was specifically designed to place satellites for
telecommunication and meteorological purposes into geostationary transfer
orbit. As the size of satellites became larger, so too did the requirement
for more powerful launch vehicles. In 1984, Ariane-1 was replaced by the
more powerful Ariane-2 and Ariane-3, and in 1988, these systems were
superseded by the Ariane-4 which became known as Europe's "space
By March 1996, the Ariane 1-4 generation of rockets had completed 84
successful launches and placed a total of 153 satellites into orbit. The
rocket has been selected by many nations as their satellite launch vehicle
of choice. Today, Arianespace, the international company that markets the
Ariane family of launchers, holds more than fifty percent of the open,
global launch market. In addition to having customers in Europe and the
United States, Arianespace has clients in Japan, Canada, India, and Brazil.
Although the Ariane-4 is still used as Europe's primary space launch
vehicle, it will soon be supplemented by the heavier lift Ariane-5 (For
details on the Ariane 4, see Apendix A).
European research on the Ariane 5 program commenced in 1986, as ESA members
began to realize the need for a more powerful successor for the Ariane- 4.
ESA members believe that, by the end of the decade, Ariane-5 will become
Europe's standard launcher and remain so for the next twenty years, making
approximately seven launches per year. According to Interavia's space
directory, France has the largest stake among ESA members in the Ariane-5
program. It has annually provided over 45 percent of the program's funding,
and is currently Aerospatiale's largest program (for details on the
Ariane-5, see Appendix B).
Test flights indicate that Ariane-5 will be significantly more powerful
than Ariane-4. It will have the capability of delivering dual 2800 kg
payloads into geosynchronous orbit, and will place Europe's first manned
spacecraft, Hermes, into low earth orbit. 17 Its level of performance and
manned flight capability make Ariane-5 considerably different from its
predecessors. It consists of a lower section which is identical for all
missions and an upper section whose configuration varies according to the
Although Ariane-5 experienced a booster failure on its maiden test flight
in June 1996, it was successfully launched on October 30, 1997 from the
Guina Space Center. Twenty seven minutes into the flight, MAQSAT H and
MAQSAT B, platforms carrying instruments to analyze launcher flight
behavior, and the technology satellite TEAMSAT were ejected into orbit. A
third qualification flight, under ESA and CNES responsibility, has been
scheduled for the spring of 1998. If this flight proceeds as planned,
commercial Ariane-5 flights will begin sometime during the fall of 1998. 18
Ariane-5: Repercussions for the Nonproliferation Regime
The state of the art capabilities of Ariane-5 clearly demonstrates that
France has become one of the world's leaders in space launch technology.
Yet, it does not appear that France will ever have the need to modify the
Ariane-5 SLV into an ICBM: It already possesses an intercontinental
capacity with its M-4, M-45, and soon to be M-5/M-51 generations of ICBM's.
In the future, however, the development of Ariane-5 and its related
technology could have serious consequences for the nonproliferation regime.
This exclusively depends upon France's and ESA's ability to ensure the
peaceful use of Ariane-5 technology in the future. On the one hand, if
France and ESA can guarantee that Ariane-5 space launch technology will be
responsibly used by any nation with which it has a cooperative agreement,
then there may not be any consequences for the international
On the other hand, if France and its European partners fail to ensure the
peaceful use of EAS technology (which may someday include Ariane-5 SLV
technology) during their cooperative ventures with CIS states, India and
Japan, these nations may gain access to technology that may ultimately aid
the development of their own long-range missile or rocket programs. The
French have previously demonstrated that they are willing to export Ariane
rocket technology to other nations. In 1989, Arianespace planned to export
rocket engines and their associated technologies to India and Brazil for
use in their domestic space programs. Although India and Brazil claimed
that they would use the technology to enhance their civilian space
programs, the Bush Administration asserted that Ariane rocket technology
could be easily adapted for military purposes, and that the transfer would
ultimately contribute to the spread of sophisticated missiles designed to
carry WMD warheads. 19 Even though the French backed down from the transfer
because of U.S. pressure, similar situations could unfold in the future
with the ESA' new partner states. It is thus essential for France and its
fellow EAS member states to exercise effective export controls over all
technology associated with the Ariane-5 program to ensure that such
technology is not used for military purposes.
France's International Arms Control Commitments
Prior to joining the Nonproliferation Treaty in 1992, France's export
policies were highly problematic for international nonproliferation
efforts. For over twenty years, France refused to sign the Nonproliferation
Treaty (NPT) despite its status as a declared
nuclear power, believing that the treaty discriminated against all nations
except the United States and USSR. In addition to consistently voicing
opposition to the treaty, during this era France established itself as one
of the world's preeminent nuclear suppliers. It has since become evident
that French nuclear technology, components and equipment were used in the
secret nuclear weapons programs of a number of nations, including Israel,
Pakistan, India, Iraq, South Africa and Algeria between 1960 and 1990.
It appears, however, that France's nonproliferation efforts experienced a
drastic change after the Gulf war. France is currently party to virtually
every multilateral agreement and regime that is designed to combat the
spread of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. In
addition to signing the NPT in 1992, France has become a strong supporter
of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Zangger Committee, the Australia
Group (AG) and the Wassenaar Arrangement. Despite France's past behavior,
scholars such as Marie-Helene Labbe contend that France's export control
system for WMD material and technology has become one of the most effective
in the world. Labbe writes, "the realization of the absolute necessity of
controlling the spread of nuclear technology, without hindering the
development of civil nuclear technology, has led France to set up a
monitoring system that, even today, is without doubt one of the most
efficient for reducing proliferation in the world." 20
In addition to its nonproliferation efforts, France cooperated in the
negotiations for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and has been a
strong proponent of the START Treaties signed between Russia and the United
States. Furthermore, France has engaged in nonproliferation efforts at the
regional and national level. It has aided Russia in the dismantlement of
some of its nuclear weapons, and French officials have helped the Korean
Energy Development Organization (KEDO) arrange the construction of two
light water commercial reactors in North Korea as a means of curbing the
DPRK's nuclear weapons program.
France and the Missile Technology Control Regime
France has been a member of the MTCR since the organization's creation in
1987. France, however, did not publish specific Missile Control lists until
1990 because exporters were subject to COCOM and CIEEMG controls, which
ultimately covered MTCR controls. 21
It appears that the French became more assertive with their control over
missile technology following the creation of specific MTCR lists. French
President Francois Mitterand called for a "global approach," rather than
adopt regional-specific strategies, for combating WMD and their delivery
French Export Controls: Statutory Requirements
Although there are explicit legal regulations controlling French exports,
the French rely on just a handful of decrees and pronouncements to outline
the structure, implementation and enforcement mechanisms for export
controls. This has resulted in a somewhat obscure legal export control
Several Government Decrees outline the only explicit authority for French
export controls relating to the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, the Decree Law of April 18, 1939 and the Decree of November
30, 1944. These two laws outline the framework under which the Government
controls the movement of all weaponry and war material into and out of
France. As a condition of the 1939 Decree, all exports of weapons and
armaments are prohibited unless permitted by the French government.
In the early 1990's, however, the French government issued several decrees
relating to international nonproliferation called the "Nonproliferation
Decrees." Under one of these decrees, France published the MTCR list of
controlled materials and technology, thereby outlining the missile
technologies that are subject to government control.
Although the above three decrees outline the overall framework for France's
export controls, Article 38 of the French Customs Code delineates how
France's export controls will be implemented and enforced. These conditions
were enacted in the "Export/Import Decree" of January 30, 1967 by the
Director General of Customs and Indirect Taxes in order to establish the
conditions under which exporters must "submit the export of certain
strategic products or technologies to authorization." 23 These control item
lists are updated periodically.
The Customs Office and SAFICO
Within the Ministry of Finance's Customs and Excise Department, the Section
des autorisations financieres et controle de la destination finale, Service
des Autorisations Financieres et Commerciales (SAFICO) coordinates the
processing of all license applications for the export of any strategic
goods or technologies, as well as war material. France's export controls
are enforced by The National Direction of Customs Research and
Investigations (Direction Nationale des Recherches et Enquetes Douanieres).
In cases of possible espionage, however, Customs must defer to the
jurisdiction of The Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire within the
Ministry of the Interior. 24
Although SAFICO possesses sole authority in administering exporting control
regulations, other government ministries have a role in creating export
control policies. The Ministries of Industry, Defense and Foreign Affairs
all have jurisdiction in the formulation process. In addition, the French
have established special interministerial committees that review license
applications for nuclear items, although these committees ultimately send
their decisions regarding such exports to the Customs office for
The Commission Interministerielle pour l'Etude des Exportation de materiel
de Guerre (CIEEMG) holds all of the decision-making authority for exports
of war material and armaments. This Commission, comprised of members of the
Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Industry, Finance and Foreign
trade, oversees the Liste des Materiels de Guerre that outlines the
controlled items and incorporates the former CoCom munitions lists. If the
participating Ministers agree that the exports are worthy of licensing, the
exporters are issued an authorization to export war material (AEMG), which
permits the material from leaving French territory. If the Ministers are
unable to reach a decision, the Prime Minister will make the final
decision. CIEEMG receives approximately 600 requests for authorizations
CIEEMG, however, has administrative but not legal authority over weapons
transfers. Even after obtaining CIEEMG approval for an export, an exporter
still must obtain SAFICO authorization to transfer any controlled item. 26
France's export controls are mostly destination based, although France has
consistently resisted the incorporation in the post-CoCom Regime of any
list of proscribed or sensitive destinations. The following offers a brief
description of the different types of controls that France adheres to.
All exports of controlled commodities require formal permission from French
customs. The French government periodically updates national control lists
under a formal notice in the Journal Officiel relating to technology
exports. Specifically, such controls require that exporters must obtain a
license for the export of any technology that may be used for the
development, production or utilization of any controlled item. 27
The recent Nonproliferation Decrees incorporate the control lists of the
former CoCom Atomic Energy, Munitions and Industrial Lists, in addition to
the control lists of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group and the
Destination Based Controls
France controls the exports of goods and technologies to certain
destinations. France breaks down these destinations into three different
groups of nations: Group One includes former CoCom members; Group Two
includes Austria, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore, Sweden,
Switzerland and Yugoslavia; Group Three includes all other countries. In
general, exporters to Group One nations may be able to obtain preferential
licenses. On the other hand, exporters to Group Three nations are subject
to much stricter licensing requirements, requiring both an individual
export license and a letter of intent by the cosignee declaring that it
will not retransfer the exported items.
France does not impose unilateral export controls for security or any other
reasons. Interestingly, under the text of the proposed French Disarmament
Plan that was espoused by President Miterrand in 1991, France expressed
interest in seeing the creation of a broader and more effective MTCR
framework. The new arrangement would document "the rules favoring civilian
space cooperation, while averting the danger of a diversion of technology
to the benefit of a military ballistic capacity." 28
France has never adopted Catch-All controls designed to combat the spread
of WMD and their delivery systems.
French Export Controls and Private Industry
The French Government requires that all exporters that receive export
licenses must set up and maintain an internal compliance program. These
compliance programs must include an internal verification procedure, a list
of company personnel with jurisdiction over verification; a training
program for all individuals involved in the export process, and a special
record system for all license-related behavior. 29
For defense industry companies, the Defense Ministry requires that Ministry
Officials known as Controlleur Generaux participate in corporate board
meetings and report all proceedings to the Minister of Defense. These
Controllers exercise substantial authority, and have the ability to order
the inspection of defense factories and the verification of sales.
Controller Generals are usually permanently assigned to the larger defense
companies, and frequently act as the intermediary between the Defense
Industry and the Government.
Future Challenges for France's Export Control Initiatives
Although it appears that France has taken substantive steps since the early
1990's to ensure that France does not contribute to the spread of WMD and
their delivery systems, a number of questions still remain about the
effectiveness of France's export controls, and its ability to limit the
spread of ballistic missiles and their associated technologies. Three
specific issues need to be addressed:
Decreased Domestic Defense Spending = More International Exports
Based on the trend that has materialized in recent years, France is turning
more and more to international markets for the sale of its defense goods.
In examining the French government's plan to reduce its armed services over
the next five years, it appears that the French defense industry will
continue to look to countries in Asia and the Middle East as destinations
for its exports. If this trend continues, France's export control system
could prove to be ineffective in ensuring that all French exports,
including military and dual-use commodities and technologies, are used
Consolidation in the Defense Industry
As previously mentioned, French conglomerates that produce aerospace and
other defense related equipment are consolidating their operations with
other French and European firms in order to streamline their operations in
the post-cold war era. As these mergers continue to take place, France may
very well need to alter its existing laws and regulations to accommodate a
new arrangement with Europe's defense industries.
Enhanced Space Cooperation with non-ESA Member States and Its Effects on
the Nonproliferation Regime
In the last few years, France has attempted to expand the scope of its
space cooperation with non-ESA members such as Japan, Russia, and the CIS
states. At this juncture, it appears that France will continue to make ESA
technology available to other nations with which it has cooperative
In 1989, France intended to transfer Ariane-4 rocket engine technology to
both Brazil and India. Although both Brazil and India asserted that the
engine technology would be used exclusively for civil space use, the Bush
Administration demanded that the transfer be terminated because the
"spin-on" of such technology for military purposes would aid both nations'
ballistic missile capabilities.
Although France proposed this transfer prior to adopting the
Nonproliferation Decree in 1992, when nonproliferation was not as high of a
national priority as it is now, it is impossible to say with any degree of
confidence that France will not export Ariane-5 rocket engine technology,
unless it adopts strict export controls over all space-related exports. If
France and other ESA members expand the scope of their space cooperation
with NIS states without effective export control mechanisms in place, a
nation with hostile intentions towards the United States may gain access to
critical Ariane SLV technology. If this occurs, the subject nation could
rapidly advance its ballistic missile launch capabilities, perhaps even
gaining the capability to manufacture a propulsion system for an ICBM or
IRBM by the year 2015.
Appendix A: The Ariane 4 Space Launch Vehicle
Like its predecessors, Ariane 4 has three stages. The addition of liquid
and/or solid boosters strapped to the first stage, makes it possible to
obtain six different versions, each with a specific performance. A version
is selected for a given flight so as to obtain the best optimization with
the payload, thus minimizing the cost per kilo in orbit. Most launches
carry two satellites in the SPELDA, Ariane's dual launch device. A total of
86 Ariane 4's have been ordered for launches up till 2000.
Initially, Ariane 4's maximum performance was 4,200 kg in GTO.
In 1992, Aerospatiale introduced the H-10+ third stage, a new light-weight
tank for helium storage, two improvements which brought performance to
4,450 kg in GTO with the Ariane 44L version. Aerospatiale has once again
upgraded the third stage. The new version now in service, called the H10
III, carries 700 kg more oxygen and functions about 30 seconds longer,
bringing performance to over 4,720 kg.
Ariane is a cooperative venture under ESA's leadership. The French space
agency, CNES, is prime contractor. Aerospatiale is the industrial architect
for the complete vehicle, and is responsible for the development of all of
the stages. Aerospatiale builds the first and third stages in its
facilities in Les Mureaux. Aerospatiale is also responsible for mission
analysis and the flight program for each launch, as well as post-flight
To satisfy market demands, the production rate of Ariane 4 is increasing
from ten to eleven per year. Some 60 companies in
11 European countries participate in the program. Marketing and launch
services are the responsibility of Arianespace. Ariane currently has more
than 60 percent of the open international market.
Total height: from 57 to 60 meters
Mass at lift-off: from 243 to 480 metric tons
Thrust at lift-off: from 2,700 to 5,350 kN
Central body diameter: 3.8 meters
Performance in GTO* from 1,900 kg to 4,720 kg
(with the H-10 III)
GTO = Geostationary Transfer Orbit
Appendix B: Ariane 5 Space Launch Vehicle
The Ariane 5 is the new generation launch vehicle approved by the European
ministers in 1987. Development is continuing under ESA's responsibility
with the French space agency CNES, as prime contractor. Aerospatiale is
industrial architect for the complete vehicle, and prime contractor for
both the central cryogenic stage (EPC), built and assembled in Les Mureaux,
and the solid booster stages (EAP), built and integrated in Guiana.
Ariane 5's cryogenic central main stage is flanked by two solid boosters.
For automatic payloads, such as satellites or space station elements, an
upper stage using storable propellants, and an equipment bay is also used.
The SPELTRA device will make it possible to launch dual payloads. Ariane 5
is designed for high reliability and will be compatible with manned
spaceflight. Designed for the commercial missions of the end of the century
and beyond, Ariane 5 will be able to place almost twice as much payload
into geostationary transfer orbit for a significantly lower launch cost.
Development has begun for an upgraded version, Ariane 5 Evolution, which
will increase performance progressively to obtain a dual launch capability
of well over seven metric tons.
Total Height: from 45.7 to 55.9 meters
Central Corp Diameter: 5.4 meters
Maximum diameter: 12.2 meters
Mass at lift-off: from 710 to 718 metric tons
Thrust at lift-off: 10,660 kN
Performance in GTO 5.9 to 6.9 metric tons
GTO = Geostationary Transfer Orbit
1. U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, World Military Expenditures
and Arms Transfers 1996, Washington D.C., p. 36 and 70. Also, the National
Defense University's Strategic Assessment 1997 concluded that total French
defense expenditures are in percentage of GDP second only to the United
2. National Defense University, Strategic Assessment 1997, United States
Government Printing Office, 1997, p. 34.
3. John D. Morrocco, "Defense Impasse Hinders Consolidation," Aviation Week
& Space Technology, December 15, 1997, p. 23.
4. Ibid., p. 23.
5. The New York Times, "British-French Deal To Create Missile Giant," May
14, 1996, D 6.
6. John D. Morrocco, "WEU Promotes Missile Cooperation," Aviation Week &
Space Technology, January 5, 1998, p. 54
7. The United States Congress Office of Technology Assessment, Global Arms
Trade: Commerce in Advanced Military Technology and Weapons, United States
Government Printing Office, 1992, p. 39.
8. ACDA, World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1996, p. 22.
9. For a detailed description of each of France's ballistic missiles see
Duncan Lennox, ed. Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems, September 23, 1997,
10. For a more detailed description of France's ALCM's see Duncan Lennox,
ed. Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, February 1996, JALW-ISSUE 23.
11. Andrew Wilson, ed. Interavia Space Directory 1992-93, Jane's
Information Group Ltd., Surrey U.K., p. 53.
12. Ibid., p. 53.
13. Pierre Sparaco, "`Leaner" CNES Seeks Stronger Partnerships," Aviation
Week & Space Technology, February 24, 1997, p. 37. In addition to
advocating greater cooperation with nations that are not EAS members,
Sparaco suggests that their should be a closer integration of civilian and
military space initiatives in France. He writes, "Despite apparently
dissimilar requirements, commercial and military space programs share key
goals and could be managed jointly. The CNES-Defense Ministry relationship
should be optimized to cut costs. Military space should play a major role
14. According to Interavia's Space Directory, France has provided Russia
and the CIS states with, "an extensive range of instrumentation to
Earth-orbiting and deep-space vehicles, including the balloon and several
instruments for Mars-94/96, major elements of the Phobos Mars probes and
the primary Sigma X/gamma-ray telescope of the Granat Observatory," p. 53.
15. For further information on the group's report see, Michael A. Taverna,
"European Space Council Proposed," Aviation Week & Space Technology, June
16, 1997, p. 62.
16. Areospatiale produced six different versions of the Ariane-4, one
"bare", and the others fitted (depending on the size of the object to be
placed into orbit) with two or four, solid or liquid strap-on boosters.
17. Wilson, Interavia Space Directory, p. 268. See pages 268-270 for a more
detailed description of Ariane-5's capabilities.
18. Joint ESA-CNES Press Release, October 30, 1997.
19. The New Scientist, "Rocket deals fuel US concern," November 11, 1989,
20. Marie Helene Labbe, "French Export Control Policy," in International
Cooperation on Nonproliferation Export Controls: Prospects for the 1990's
and Beyond, eds. Gary K. Bertsch, Richard T. Cupitt and Steven Elliot
(University of Michigan Press, 1994), p. 205.
21. France's export control system over ballistic missile technology was
ineffective during the 1960's and 1970's prior to the adoption of MTCR
controls. For instance, French assistance was critical to Israel's
ballistic missile programs. In 1963, the Israeli government reportedly
signed a $100 million agreement with the French aerospace firm Dassault to
develop a ballistic missile, later known as the Jericho I. Reports suggest
that the French were to build 25 missiles, although it is not known whether
these were designed to be operational systems or test models. Before
development of the missile was completed, the French government canceled
the contract. After the cancellation of the project, development and
production of the Jericho shifted to Israel.
22. See the American Bar Association Task Force on Nonproliferation of
Weapons of Mass Destruction, entitled, "Beyond CoCom- A Comparative Study
of Export Controls: Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Japan and
the European Union Export Control Regulation," September 1994. The Section
on France offers a detailed description of the structure of France's export
23. Journal Officiel, Documents Administratifs, January 24, 1992, "Avis aux
impotateurs et exportateurs re: controle de la destination finale," p. 3.
24. Bertrand Warusfel, "Le Controle des exportations strategiques," Defense
Nationale, February 1985, pp. 110-111.
25. Any decisions on export licenses for items on the former CoCom Atomic
Energy List and the Nuclear Suppliers Group List is reviewed by the
interministerial committee called the Groupe Interministerial Restreint
which is comprised of by members of the Foreign Affairs, Defense , Industry
Finance and Foreign Trade Ministries.
26. ABA Task Force Report, p. 59.
27. Ibid., p. 60. It must be noted, however, that "technology 'existing in
the public domain' or of 'fundamental scientific research' is not subject
to final destination control." Nowhere is "Fundamental Scientific Research"
defined in the regulations.
28. Text of the French Disarmament Plan as Reprinted in Le Monde
Hebdomadaire, May 30 - June 5, 1991, p. 2.
29. ABA Task Force, p. 65.