First French missile tests in the Algerian Sahara:
France joined the group of countries with nuclear weapons on 13 February 1960, after the United States, the Soviet Union and England, when the first French atomic test was carried out. Until 1966, the first tests, aerial (from a tower) then underground, were carried out in the Algerian Sahara, near Reggane, before continuing on the atoll of Mururoa in Polynesia until 1996, date on which the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty was signed.
At the same time, France built several missile and rocket launchers in the western Algerian Sahara, in Colomb-Béchar and Hammaguir, used until 1967, until the Guiana Space Center took over. The first launches of sounding rockets later allowed the placing in orbit of artificial satellites, but also paved the way for the development of strategic missiles intended for the French nuclear deterrent force.
A reporter’s report:
Journalist Jean-Pierre Chapel attended a rocket-head recovery exercise at the time, as part of the tests of the sounding rockets. He recounted a very significant observation made on this occasion to Jean-Claude Bourret, another journalist well known for his passion for the UFO phenomenon, which he himself transcribed in one of his books (« Le nouveau défi des ovnis , 1977 » (The New Challenge of Ufos, 1977) and shared in a webcast (BTLV).
Jean-Pierre Chapel recounts: In April 1963, I was in the Algerian Sahara, near the Hammaguir base, to attend as a journalist an exercise to recover rocket heads. I was with a team of technicians and soldiers, some 30 people, and we were supplied by a plane that dropped food and water every day. We had a cinetheodolite, which is a camera equipped with a very powerful telephoto lens (2000 mm focal length), and a stopwatch with a resolution to one-tenth of a second, used to track the trajectories of spacecraft. This device has the characteristic of recording a very large number of images per second, so as to obtain a slow motion reading.
A UFO is monitoring the operations:
At one point someone said, “Here’s the plane”. And we did see a dot in the sky, like a plane that was about 2.5 miles away from our position, and at an altitude of ten thousand feet. But after ten minutes, the bright spot was still in the same place! The captain who was in charge of the convoy then had the cinetheodolite started and we realized that it was not an aircraft, it was an unidentified flying object. I myself saw in the viewfinder of the camera a craft apparently of metal structure, in the shape of a saucer of about sixty feet in diameter, perfectly symmetrical. We filmed this motionless object for five minutes in the sky, and then it suddenly disappeared at a breath-taking speed.
The displacement of the UFO was thus recorded on the film, which was then developed. Then an analysis was made of this recording. The measurements showed that the acceleration of the UFO at its departure was 62 g, a value so high that no human being could withstand it, or even any insect… We can add that this acceleration value is still today absolutely out of reach for the most efficient missiles manufactured by man.
Then Jean-Pierre Chapel returned to Paris. He then asked the army for the film with the intention to have it broadcast on the 1st television channel. He was told that no one knew where it was … And he never got to see the film!
As in all countries, information is stifled:
We can understand that the French military authorities – and this would have happened in the same way with the American or Russian authorities – had no intention of allowing these images to be broadcast in public. Such images on a national television channel would have immediately triggered an avalanche of questions that no one was able to answer, and would have shown the world the vulnerability of the armies, that are supposed to ensure the safety of citizens.
This observation shows that UFOs were present during the tests related to the development of rockets and surface-to-air missiles intended to develop the French deterrent force, as if to monitor their progress. There is no other observation report available on the French nuclear tests. But we know that UFOs were present on the scene when tests were carried out for the development of nuclear weapons, both in France, in the US and in the Soviet Union.