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July 4, 2016

French Navy’s SSBN Le Triomphant test fires M51 ballistic missile

The French Navy’s Le Triomphant nuclear-powered missile submarine (SSBN) has successfully test fired an M51 strategic ballistic missile (SLBM) from the Bay of Audierne, Finistère.

By Srijanee Chakraborthy

The French Navy’s Le Triomphant nuclear-powered missile submarine (SSBN) has successfully test fired an M51 strategic ballistic missile (SLBM) from the Bay of Audierne, Finistère.

The firing aimed to validate the operational capacity of the submarine’s weapon system, while also demonstrating the technology that the French industries are deploying in this field.

Conducted without a nuclear warhead and in compliance with the French international commitments, the successful missle launch was supported by the French Ministry of Defence, the Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA), and the companies.

"The new missile will be integrated across the entire ballistic missile submarine force of the French Navy by the end of this decade."

Throughout the flight phase, the missile was being monitored by the test centre of the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA), including the Monge test and telemetry ship.

The zone targeted by the missile was located in the North Atlantic, several hundred kilometres from the nearest coast.

The new missile will be integrated across the entire ballistic missile submarine force of the French Navy by the end of this decade.

The M51 is the latest intercontinental missile, which will replace the existing M45 submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

Last August, the French Navy received Le Triomphant after the completion of a 20-month modernisation period in drydock 8 at Brest.

During this period, Le Triomphant’s missile launch tubes were replaced to accommodate the new-generation M-51.

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