Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Pluton missile was a short-range nuclear ballistic system launched from a Transport-Erector-Launcher platform (TEL) mounted on an AMX-30 tank chassis. The were design to provide the tactical part of French nuclear deterrence during the Cold War.
The Pluton came in replacement of the US-built Honest John missile . It had an operating range between 17 and 120 km, with a CEP of 150 m. This short range only allowed strikes on targets in West Germany or within France itself, which led to the development of the longer ranged Hadès missile.
The system was relatively light-weighted, which allowed its deployment in difficult conditions. A CT-20 drone was available to provide last-minute information about the target before launch, making the Pluton system battle-capable.
There were five Pluton regiments in the North of France, each having six launchers:
- 3rd Artillery Regiment in Mailly
- 4th Artillery Regiment in Laon
- 15th Artillery Regiment in Suippes
- 32nd Artillery Regiment in Oberrhoffen
- 74th Artillery Regiment in Belfort
A project for an updated version, called Super-Pluton, was dropped in favor of the Hadès project, and the aging Pluton was gradually discarded until completely retired in 1993.
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