France said it had successfully tested without a nuclear load the M51.3 strategic ballistic missile on Saturday.

The French defence ministry said the launch took place from a site in the Landes region in southwestern France.

The missile was tracked throughout its flight phase and the fallout area was located in the North Atlantic several hundred kilometres from any coast, the ministry added in a statement.

"First successful test firing of an M51.3 strategic ballistic missile!" Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"This development confirms the credibility of our nuclear deterrent and demonstrates the excellence of our launch sector," he said.