Le Triomphant (S616) is the French Navy’s ballistic missile nuclear-powered submarine (SSBN), intended to replace the L’Inflexible M4 Class SSBNs.
The submarine was designed and built at DCN’s Cherbourg shipyard. This first-of-class submarine was launched in July 1993 and entered service in 1997. The second, Le Temeraire (S617), entered service in January 2000. The third, Le Vigilant (S618), was launched in April 2003 and commissioned in November 2004.
The keel for fourth and last, Le Terrible (S619) was laid down in October 2000. The submarine was launched in March 2008 and commissioned in September 2010.
In April 2007, DCN became DCNS. This followed an agreement in which Thales became a 25% shareholder in the new company and DCN acquired the naval business of Thales France (excluding naval equipment).
The submarine carries 16 vertically launched M45 ballistic missiles supplied by EADS Space Transportation (formerly Aerospatiale), based in Les Mureaux, France. The M45 propulsion system has three-stage solid fuel rocket motors producing hypersonic speed. The inertial control and guidance system is equipped with a Sagittaire digital computer supplied by Thales (formerly Thomson-CSF).
The missile carries a thermonuclear warhead, developed by the Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique, with six multiple re-entry vehicles (MRVs), each of 150kt, in the TN-71 warhead. The range is 6,000km.
The enhanced M51 missile, weighs more than 50t and carries a warhead with 12 MIRVS, and have an increased range of 8,000km. The submarine is equipped with a SAD strategic data system for control of the M45 ballistic missile.
EADS Space Transportation received a production contract for the new enhanced M51 missile in December 2004.
The M51 entered service in January 2010 on Le Terrible and will be retrofitted to the other vessels of the class by 2018. The missile weighs more than 50t, carries a warhead with six MIRVS and has an increased range of 8,000km. Sagem is providing the new navigation and guidance system, which will contribute to the first hit accuracy of the M51. A successful first test firing of the M-51, without the warhead, took place in November 2006.
The submarine’s surface-to-surface missile is the Exocet SM39 supplied by MBDA (formerly EADS Aerospatiale). Target range and bearing data is downloaded from the submarine’s SAT tactical data system and the DLA 4A weapon control system into the Exocet’s computer.
The SM39 in a launch capsule is launched from the submarine’s torpedo tubes using a gas generator. The launch capsule is propelled away from the submarine and clear of the surface of the sea by a solid propellant motor. The missile separates from the capsule and the boost motor is ignited. The missile approaches the target area in sea-skimming mode using inertial navigation and then active radar homing. The missile approaches the target at speeds over Mach 0.9 and the range is 50km. The Exocet’s 165kg high-explosive shaped charge warhead is armed with a delayed impact fuse and a proximity fuse.
The submarine has four 533mm torpedo tubes and has the capacity to carry a mixed load of 18 ECAN L5 mod 3 torpedoes and Exocet missiles. The torpedo, armed with a 150kg warhead, is equipped with both active and passive homing. The range is over 9km and the speed 35kt.
The DR 3000U electronic support system is supplied by Thales, based in Malakoff, France. DR 3000U is a radar warning receiver (French Navy designation ARUR-13) operating in D to K bands.
The system uses a masthead antenna array with omnidirectional and monopulse directional antennas and a separate periscope warning antenna. The system provides direction-finding with an accuracy greater than 1°.
The submarine is fitted with the Thales Underwater Systems (formerly Thomson Marconi Sonar) DMUX 80 bow and flank array sonar suite. The DMUX 80 provides passive target ranging and interception capability. The submarine’s low-frequency towed array sonar provides very long-range capability.
The submarine’s search radar, supplied by Thales, operates at I-band.
The submarine’s propulsion system is a nuclear turbo-electric system based on a Type K15 pressure water reactor (PWR) supplying 150MW. The auxiliary propulsion system is diesel electric, with two SEMT-Pielstick 8 PA 4 v 200 SM diesels.
Le Triomphant has a submerged speed in excess of 25kt and a surface speed of 20kt. The diving depth is more than 300m. The endurance of the submarine is over 60 days.