Status: Retired 1965.
In 1959 French President de Gaulle approved development of a national deterrent force that included silo-based and submarine-based solid propellant ballistic missiles. A series of test rockets, based on available French solid propellant motors, would be necessary to prove thrust vectoring, solid propellant chemistry, control, guidance, and re-entry vehicles for the operational missiles. In September 1959 SEREB (Societe pour l'Etude et la Realisation d'Engins Balistiques) was created as a private company for development of these test vehicles and ballistic missiles. A basic ballistic research (EBB) program was carried using a series of Experimental Vehicles (VE's), each named after precious stones. These were flown in the 1960's, with a short-term result being the Diamant, France's interim satellite launch vehicle.