France new submarine ballistic missile M-51 launched from SNLE "Le Terrible"
With a deterrence inherited from the Cold War geared mainly towards Soviet Russia, France now moves to a position much more "all-out", which helps deter proven nuclear and emerging nuclear powers.
France has just completed a test firing of a missile M-51 in Brittany, on Saturday, in the Baie d'Audierne near Brest. This is the second launch since the 1st test in January. This launch, while diving, validates the operational aspect of the fourth type SSBN Triumphant.
With a length of 138 meters underwater for a mass of over 14,000 tons, "Le Terrible" has a crew of 111 men including 15 officers and made his first launch of the M-51 on January 27 after three firings from land-based facilities in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The missile-sea-land-strategic ballistic missile submarines is designed for new generation, starting with the Terrible, launched in March 2008, and who will receive 16 copies.
This high technology M-51 will be commissioned by the Navy this year 2010. This test is part of the renewal and adaptation of deterrence of France against new threats in strict compliance with its international commitments. The Gendarmerie Maritime, including Coast-guards and the Gendarmerie of the Armament provided their support for the monitoring of the firing zone.
Illustration of the M-51 nuclear ballistic missile
The DGA is owner of the M51 and SSBN military programs. EADS Astrium has designed and built the M51 missile. The DCNS has designed and built the SSBN "Le Terrible". The CEA designs and manufactures missile payloads. The M51 was monitored during its flight (without nuclear charge) by a ship of the French Navy, the "Monge" and through the center of the "DGA missile tests" of Biscarrosse and Quimper. The fallout area is the center of the North Atlantic, hundreds of miles from any coast. The reentry phase lasted a few seconds with a huge slowdown with... a military secrecy precision.
Sources: Reporter's notes
✍✍✍ VDO 1 Launch of the M-51
VDO 2 Le Terrible