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Failed missile launch in Normandy

media Finistère Creative Commons

A ballistic missile was launched during a trial run in Normandy, France on Sunday, but self-destructed minutes later. The ministry has not confirmed the reasons for the missile’s failure, but local authorities have called it “a miss” and have opened an investigation.

Captain Lionel Delort said during a press conference that the missile “self-destructed in the first phase of its propulsion” for an “unknown reason.”

The strategic ballistic missile M51 was without a nuclear warhead and following its failure, landed in the ocean, according to the Ministry of Defence.

The area in which the missile landed was a prohibited zone for maritime or air traffic, who temporary stop their activities during missile tests.

The submarine-launched M51 missile was approved for use in July 2010 after a fifth test firing. As in previous test firings, Sunday’s launch took place over the Audierne Bay in Finistère, in the west of the country.

If the launch had been successful, it would have landed in the centre of the north Atlantic, several hundred kilometres from any coastline.

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