Triomphant-class submarine

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Le Téméraire
Class overview
NameTriomphant class
Builders DCNS
OperatorsCivil and Naval Ensign of France.svg  French Navy
Preceded by Redoutableclass
Succeeded by SNLE 3G [1]
  • 17.1 billion (2009) for 4 units
  • 3.1 billion (2009)' [2] for Le Terrible'
In commission1997–present
General characteristics
Type Ballistic missile submarine
  • 12,640 tonne (surfaced)
  • 14,335 tonne (submerged)
Length138 m (453 ft)
Beam12.50 m (41.0 ft)
Draught10.60 m (34.8 ft)
  • K15 pressurized water reactor 150 MWth, LEU 7%; [3] with turboreductor pump-to-shaft system of 30,5 MW
  • Power : 30,519 kW (40,927 hp)
  • two emergency diesel-powered generators SEMT Pielstick 8PA4V200 SM (700 kW (940 hp)) auxiliaries.
SpeedOver 25 kn (46 km/h)
RangeUnlimited distance; 20–25 years
Test depthOver 400 m (1,300 ft)
  • 15 officers
  • 96 sailors
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Sonar DMUX 80
  • Sonar DUUX 5
  • Sonar DSUV 61B Very Low Frequency
  • Racal Decca radar (navigation)
  • SCC : SET (Système d'exploitation Tactique) : tactical operational system
Electronic warfare
& decoys

The Triomphant class of ballistic missile submarines of the French Navy is the active lead boat class of four boats that entered service in 1997, 1999, 2004, and 2010. These four superseded the older Redoutableclass, and they provide the ocean-based component (the Force océanique stratégique ) of France's nuclear deterrent strike force, the Force de dissuasion (deterrence force). Their home port is Île Longue, Roadstead of Brest, Western Brittany.


Design and construction

The first three boats were originally armed with the French-produced and armed M45 intermediate-range missile, and the fourth vessel, Le Terrible, tested and is equipped with the more advanced M51 missile. [6] Each of the first three boats were retrofitted to the M51 missile standard, with the last M45 offloaded in 2016. [7]


In French, these are called Sous-Marin Nucléaire Lanceur d'Engins de Nouvelle Génération (English: "Next Generation Device-Launching Nuclear Submarine"), abbreviated as SNLE-NG. They have replaced all of the Redoutable-class boats, with the last of those six boats being decommissioned in 2008. These submarines carry 16 submarine-launched ballistic missile launching tubes apiece.

This class reportedly produces approximately 1/1000 of the detectable noise of the Redoutable-class boats (submarines), and they are ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines. [8] Initially armed with the M45 missile, they are designed to carry the new M51 missile, which entered active service in 2010. As of October 2010, an M51 has been test-fired from one of these submarines across the Atlantic Ocean from near France to the west, and is equipped on Le Terrible.

These boats were all constructed by the DCNS, and they carry an armament of 16 M45 SLBM or M51 SLBM missiles manufactured by the Aérospatiale company (now Airbus Defence and Space), plus conventional torpedoes and Exocet anti-ship missiles.

List of submarines

The French Navy's goal is to operate a force of four ballistic missile submarines (comparable with the Royal Navy's Vanguard-class submarines), of which two are expected to be on patrol at any given time.

NameConstruction beganLaunchedCommissioned
Le Triomphant 9 June 198626 March 199421 March 1997
Le Téméraire 18 December 199321 January 199823 December 1999
Le Vigilant January 199619 September 200326 November 2004
Le Terrible 24 October 200021 March 200820 September 2010 [9]

Service history

On 3 February or 4 February 2009, Le Triomphant collided with the Royal Navy submarine HMS Vanguard; the Royal Navy boat received damage to the outer casing in the area of the missile compartment on the starboard (right) side and suffered very visible dents and scrapes. [10] Le Triomphant was reported to have proceeded to Brest under her own power, submerged, but with damage to her active sonar dome under her bow. [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

Ballistic missile submarine Submarine that can launch ballistic missiles

A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine capable of deploying submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with nuclear warheads. The United States Navy's hull classification symbols for ballistic missile submarines are SSB and SSBN – the SS denotes submarine, the B denotes ballistic missile, and the N denotes that the submarine is nuclear powered. These submarines became a major weapon system in the Cold War because of their nuclear deterrence capability. They can fire missiles thousands of kilometers from their targets, and acoustic quieting makes them difficult to detect, thus making them a survivable deterrent in the event of a first strike and a key element of the mutual assured destruction policy of nuclear deterrence.

Force de dissuasion Frances former nuclear triad

The Force de frappe, or Force de dissuasion after 1961, is the designation of what used to be a triad of air-, sea- and land-based nuclear weapons intended for dissuasion, the French term for deterrence. The French Nuclear Force, part of the French military, is the third largest nuclear-weapons force in the world, after the nuclear triads of the United States and the Russian Federation.

The TN 75 is a French-built 150kt thermonuclear warhead used on France's M45 and M51 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, carried by the last of the Redoutable class submarines, S616 Inflexible, and by the Triomphant class submarines. The French Navy has 290 TN-75 warheads. It is a miniaturized, hardened and stealthy successor to the TN 71.

M4 (missile) SLBM

The M4 was a French submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) deployed on the nuclear Redoutable-class submarines.

M45 (missile) SLBM

The M45 SLBM was a French Navy submarine-launched ballistic missile Forty-eight M45 were in commission in the Force océanique stratégique, the submarine nuclear deterrent component of the French Navy. The missiles, derived from the M4, were produced by Aérospatiale. Initially, an ICBM land-based version was considered, but these plans were discarded in 1996 to favour an all-naval deployment.

French submarine <i>Inflexible</i> (S615)

L'Inflexible is the sixth and final of the Redoutable-class SNLE of the Force océanique stratégique (FOST), the submarine nuclear deterrent component of the French Navy.

<i>Redoutable</i>-class submarine (1967) Nuclear powered Ballistic missile submarine built for the French navy

The Le Redoutable-class submarine was a ballistic missile submarine class of the French Marine Nationale. In French, the type is called Sous-marin Nucléaire Lanceur d'Engins (SNLE), literally "Missile-launching nuclear submarine". When commissioned, they constituted the strategic part of the naval component of the French nuclear triad, then called Force de frappe.

M51 (missile) SLBM

The M51 SLBM is a French submarine-launched ballistic missile, built by ArianeGroup, and deployed with the French Navy. Designed to replace the M45 SLBM, it was first deployed in 2010.

French submarine <i>Redoutable</i> (S611) Naval museum in Cherbourg-Octeville, France

Le Redoutable was the lead boat of her class of ballistic missile submarines in the French Marine Nationale.

M1 (missile) SLBM

The M1 MSBS was the first French submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Strategic Oceanic Force French nuclear ballistic missile submarine force

The Strategic Ocean Force has been the synonym of the French Submarine Forces since 1999, which the commandant commands the ensemble related to, along with the squadron of nuclear attack submarine.

M20 (missile) SLBM

The M20 was a French submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) deployed on the nuclear Redoutable-class submarines from 1977. It was withdrawn from service by 1991.

French submarine <i>Le Triomphant</i> (S616)

Le Triomphant is a strategic nuclear submarine of the French Navy; the submarine is the lead boat of her class commissioned in 1997 with the home port of Île Longue. The vessel carries sixteen strategic missiles, whose launch can only be authorized by the President of France.

French submarine <i>Le Téméraire</i> (S617) Ballistic missile submarine

Le Téméraire is a Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarine of the French Navy, launched in January 1998, and commissioned in December 1999, six months behind schedule. The boat had, in May 1999, successfully test launched an M45 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

French submarine <i>Le Vigilant</i> (S618) French nuclear submarine

Le Vigilant is a Triomphant-class strategic nuclear submarine in service with the French Navy.

Le Terrible is a Triomphant-class strategic nuclear submarine of the French Navy. The boat was launched on 21 March 2008

Submarine forces (France)

The Submarine Forces of France are one of the four main components of the French Navy. The force oversees all French submarines regardless of role.

HMS <i>Vanguard</i> and <i>Le Triomphant</i> submarine collision 2009 naval accident

The submarines HMS Vanguard of the Royal Navy and Le Triomphant of the French Navy collided in the Atlantic Ocean in the night between 3–4 February 2009. Both nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines sustained damage, but no injuries or radioactivity releases were reported. At the time of the collision, both vessels were submerged and moving "at very low speed" according to the UK Ministry of Defence. Both are equipped with active and passive sonar, although only the latter is used on an operational patrol.

The M2 MSBS was the second French submarine-launched ballistic missile. In French, MSBS is the abbreviation for Mer-Sol Balistique Stratégique, or Sea-Ground Strategic Ballistic Missile. It has two stages. It was deployed on the Redoutable-class SNLEs or SSBNs from 1974 to 1978, replacing the M1 MSBS. The M2 was itself replaced by the M20 MSBS beginning in 1977.

SNLE 3G French Navy ballistic missile submarine class

The SNLE 3G is a class of submarines under development for the French Navy's nuclear deterrent, part of the Force de dissuasion. It is being designed as a replacement for the current Triomphant class beginning around 2035, and could remain in service to as late as 2090.


  1. "SNLE de 3è génération : la mise en chantier prévue pour 2023". 26 October 2018.
  2. "French Audit Report Reveals Weapon Prices, A400M Details". 18 February 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  3. [ bare URL PDF ]
  4. "AFP: La marine française met un quatrième sous-marin nucléaire en service" . Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  5. "IA M51 : Chape de plomb sur le nucléaire". Mer et Marine. 4 October 2010. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  6. "AFP: La marine française met un quatrième sous-marin nucléaire en service" . Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  7. Kristensen, Hans; Korda, Matt (7 January 2019). "French nuclear forces, 2019". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 75 (Special Issue: Spotlight on Nuclear Modernization): 51–55. doi:10.1080/00963402.2019.1556003 . Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  8. "Le Triomphant". Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  9. "Le Terrible entre en service actif". Ministry of Defense (France). 1 October 2010. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  10. "Nuclear subs collide in Atlantic". BBC News. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  11. "Nuclear subs collide in Atlantic". BBC News. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2016.