Naval Group has started hull deconstruction work on Le Foudroyant, a former Le Redoutable class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (ex-SSBNs) of the French Navy.

The deconstruction programme for the five first-generation SSBNs was launched in September 2018.

In October 2016, Naval Group was notified by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) of a contract to deconstruct the hulls of these previously dismantled ex-SSBNs.

Work on Le Foudroyant marks a milestone in the programme, which has already completed the task on the first and second ex-SSBNs, Le Tonnant and L’Indomptable.

Le Tonnant was deconstructed between September 2018 and February last year, followed by L’Indomptable’s deconstruction between March last year and August this year.

The remaining three first-generation ex-SSBNs will be deconstructed one after the other until 2026.

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The company is performing the work at its site in Cherbourg, France.

Naval Group Ex-SSBN deconstruction programme director Olivier Lezin SAID: “As a pioneer in naval submarine technologies, Naval Group has mastered the entire life cycle of SSBNs: design, production, maintenance/upgrades, dismantling and deconstruction.

“Thanks to this strong expertise, Naval Group is proud to be pursuing a program that is completely new in France, together with its partners and on behalf of its customer, the French procurement agency.”

Naval Group serves as the sole project manager with Veolia and Vinci Construction France subsidiary NEOM as two main partner companies for this programme.

The company noted that nearly 60 people were deployed on the deconstruction site to perform various services, such as production, project management, steering and general organisation.

In February this year, France launched a programme to build the French Navy’s third generation SSBN.

Called the SNLE 3G, this programme’s launch was announced by French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly at the DGA Centre of expertise for Hydrodynamic techniques.

The new submarines are being designed to replace the second-generation SSBN.

The French Navy’s second-generation SSBN will be phased out from being operational between the 2030s and 2040s.