Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: SNLE
Parent System: Le Triomphant
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1997
Total Production: 4
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Description: Le Triomphant is a new class of nuclear-powered ballistic submarines (SSBN) designed to meet the requirements of France as the nuclear deterrence force cornerstone. Four Le Triomphant-class units will replace L'Inflexible-class ships becoming the quietest nuclear-powered submarines deployed ever by the French Navy. This program started in the early 1990s and it is being managed by the French DGA. Their main armament are 16 M45 ballistic missiles armed with 4 MIRVs, M45s will be replaced by the far more capable M51 SLBM beginning in 2010. The fourth submarine will be equipped with such missiles since its commissioning, while the three previous boats will be upgraded with the new missile when available. Additionally, these submarines can use F17 torpedoes and Exocet SM-39 anti-ship missiles through their four 533mm torpedo tubes for self-defense purposes.
The French Navy has ordered four Le Triomphant-class submarines. On November 19, 2004, DCN officially delivered the third boat, named Le Vigilant, to the French Navy, the boat was accepted for active service November 26 replacing L'Indomptable which will be decommissioned in 2005. Le Terrible, the last one of them, will be commissioned in 2010 two years later than early draft. Le Terrible will be the first submarine delivered equipped with M51 ballistic missiles instead of M45s. On October 28, 2004, DCN and the French Navy signed a contract worth €330 million ($414 million) to provide overall maintenance work in support of the ballistic submarines fleet over the next five years. Overhaul, engineering, sustain and repair works will be carried out at DCN facilities in Brest, France.
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