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Le Triomphant class

Ballistic missile submarine

Le Triomphant class submarine

The Le Triomphant class is a new generation of ballistic missile submarines

 
 
Country of origin France
Entered service 1997
Crew 111 men
Diving depth (operational) ?
Diving depth (maximum) > 500 m
Sea endurance ?
Dimensions and displacement
Length 138 m
Beam 12.5 m
Draught 12.5 m
Surfaced displacement 12 640 tons
Submerged displacement 14 335 tons
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed ?
Submerged speed 25 knots
Nuclear reactors 1 x 150 MW
Steam turbines 1 x ?
Diesel engines 2 x 939 hp
Armament
Missiles 16 x 51 SLBMs each with 6-10 107 kT MIRVs, SM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles in place of the torpedoes
Torpedoes 4 x 533-mm tubes for 18 L5 torpedoes or SM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles

 

   Ordered in March 1986 to replace the Le Redoutable class, the Le Triomphant class are known to the French as SNLE-NGs (Sousmarins Nucleares Lanceurs d'Engines-Nouvelle Generation) or new generation SSBNs.

   The lead boat, Le Triomphant, was laid down at Cherbourg in 1989, launched in 1994 and entered service in 1997. Six boats were originally planned but this was reduced to four after the end of the Cold War.

   Originally it was planned to arm these French boats with the M5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which was proving very expensive to develop, has been abandoned. The Triomphant class boats were originally armed with M45 missiles. These were cheaper than the planned M5 missiles. A first submerged M45 launch was conducted by Le Triomphant in February 1995. Operated by two crews ('amber' and 'blue') Le Triomphant is France's primary nuclear deterrent - only two of the L'Inflexible M4 class are still operational and are due to be paid off. The Triomphant class are significantly quieter than their predecessors: the primary objective of the design team was to reduce noise levels to the point that even the best acoustic sensors would struggle to detect and track the vessels.

   The second of the class, Le Temeraire was laid down in 1993, launched in 1998 and commissioned in December 1999. Le Vigilant, laid down in 1997, and enter service in 2004. Le Terrible was laid down in October 2000 and joined the fleet in 2010. The M45 SLBM has a maximum range of 5 300 km and each missile has six MIRVs each carrying a 150 kT nuclear warhead. The Triomphant class can launch SM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles from their torpedo tubes to attack surface targets, in addition to dual purpose L5 active/passive homing torpedoes.

   Between 2010-15 the class of four boats, beginning with Le Terrible, were re-equipped with the new M51 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The M51 has a range of 8 000 km with full payload and 10 000 km with reduced payload. Such range is sufficient to strike most areas in China, Russia or the United States, firing straight from the pier. Each missile carries 6-10 independently targetable warheads. Each has a blast yield of 107 kT. Furthermore the missile carries penetration aids in order to overcome hostile air defenses. Newer version of this missile, that appeared in 2015, the M51.2, carries much more powerful 150 kT warheads. The M51.3 version is being developed. But it will enter service only in around 2025.

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Le Triomphant (S616) 1989 1994 1997

active, in service

La Temeraire (S617) 1993 1998 1999

active, in service

Le Vigilant (S618) 1997 2003 2004

active, in service

Le Terrible (S619) 2000 2008 2010

active, in service

 

 

Video of the Le Triomphant class ballistic missile submarine

 
Le Triomphant class submarine

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Le Triomphant class submarine

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Le Triomphant class submarine

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Le Triomphant class submarine

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Le Triomphant class submarine

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Le Triomphant class submarine

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Le Triomphant class submarine

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Le Triomphant class submarine

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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