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French Navy conducts test fire of M51 ballistic missile from Le Temeraire SSBN ballistic missile submarine


On Friday, June 12, 2020, the French Navy has announced a test launch of ballistic missile M51 SLBM (Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ) from "Le Temeraire" (S617) a Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarine. The Temeraire is one of the four SSBN (Sub-Surface Ballistic Nuclear) submarine of the French Navy.
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French Navy conducts test fire of M51 ballistic missile from Le Temeraire SSBN ballistic missile submarine 925 001 Test-fire of M51 ballistic missile from a submarine of the French Navy. (Picture source French Navy)


According to a Tweet released by East Penudulum on June 12, 2020, the missile was launched from the Audierne Bay near western France and crossed the Atlantic Ocean over 6000 km to reach its impact zone near the coasts of Porto Rico.

The M51 SLBM is a French submarine-launched ballistic missile, built by ArianeGroup, and deployed with the French Navy. Each missile carries six to ten independently targetable TN 75 thermonuclear warheads. The three-stage engine of the M51 is directly derived from the solid propellant boosters of Ariane 5. The French Navy is the only operator of this type of missile.

According to some naval military sources, the M51 ballistic missile launched June 12, 2020, could be the new upgraded version Mk. 3, which is under development.

The "Temeraire" (S617) is a Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN Sub-Surface Ballistic Nuclear) that was designed and built at DCN’s Cherbourg shipyard, now Naval Group. The first submarine of this class was launched in July 1993 and entered service in 1997. The second, Le Temeraire (S617) entered in with the Fench Navy in January 2000. The third, Le Vigilant (S618), was launched in April 2003 and commissioned in November 2004.

The Temeraire is powered by 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 diesel engines. 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.

The Temeraire has 16 vertically launched M45 ballistic missiles and its has also four 533mm torpedo tubes that have the capacity to carry a mixed load of 18 ECAN L5 mod 3 torpedoes and Exocet missiles. The torpedo, armed with a 150 kg warhead, is equipped with both active and passive homing. The range is over 9 km and the speed 35 kt.


French Navy conducts test fire of M51 ballistic missile from Le Temeraire SSBN ballistic missile submarine 925 002
"The Temeraire" is Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarine of the French Navy. (Picture source Wikimedia)