French Navy ballistic nuclear submarine Le Terrible continues its Full Cycle Docking


According to a press release published on January 8, 2021, the ballistic nuclear submarine of Triomphant-class (SSBN) Le Terrible of the French Navy has arrived in dock 8 of the Brest naval base to continue its Full Cycle Docking (FCD), otherwise known as a major refit. This will be the first FCD for Le Terrible and will involve 14 months of industrial activities to modernise the ship and restore its operational potential for the coming 10 years.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French Navy ballistic nuclear submarine of Triomphant-class (SSBN) Le Terrible of the French Navy on the way to the dock 8 of the Brest naval base to continue its Full Cycle Docking FCD. (Picture source Naval Group)


The French Navy SSBN Le Terrible submarine’s FCD (Full Cycle Docking) work began on the operational base of l’Ile Longue with two major preparatory operations: the removal of weapons and the fuel elements from the nuclear reactor. The SSBN will now undergo major maintenance and modernization works in dock 8 on the Brest naval base in order to restore its operational potential for the coming 10 years.

As the project’s prime contractor, Naval Group has been officially responsible since the beginning of November 2020. The SSF (Fleet Support Service) has ownership and is responsible for maintaining the French navy’s fleet in operational condition.

The main works to be carried out are maintenance of the hull and its structures, energy and propulsion, diving safety, the platform control and operation systems, utilities associated with life on board, detection and fight against threats, and the deterrent weapon system (SAD).

In addition, 300 modifications will be made to various installations in order to improve the SSBN’s control and performances.

These works will last for around 14 months and the submarine will then return to its operational base to reload the reactor core, start up the installations and carry out sea trials before returning to its operational cycle.

Le Terrible is a Triomphant-class strategic nuclear submarine in service with the French Navy. The submarine was launched on 21 March 2008. Four Le Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) are currently in service with the French Navy. These submarines are 138 meters long with a 12.5-meter-wide beam and can travel over 25 knots when submerged. They can remain submerged for about 60 days without surfacing. Their weapons system can fire anti-ship missiles, sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and torpedoes.


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