French ballistic missile test ends in failure after missile destroys itself; reason unclear

A French ballistic missile test has ended in failure after the missile destroyed itself just minutes after its launch from a nuclear submarine off the coast of Brittany.

The French Defense Ministry said in a statement that, as usual, the M51 missile was not armed with a nuclear warhead during the test Sunday. Debris from the missile fell in an area that was closed to sea and air traffic.

The ministry said it was investigating why the test failed. It was the sixth such launch of the M51 missile.