Home Europe Video: French SSBN FS Le Téméraire test-launches M51 ballistic missile

Video: French SSBN FS Le Téméraire test-launches M51 ballistic missile

French SSBN FS Le Téméraire
Photo: French Navy

The French Navy’s ballistic missile submarine FS Le Téméraire test fired an M51 strategic ballistic missile off Finistère on June 12, French defense minister Florence Parly announced.

The test was performed without a nuclear warhead, and the missile was followed throughout the flight by the assets of DGA missile testing center. The French missile range instrumentation ship Monge was also involved.

Edit: This post has been updated with video footage of the event.

The missile landed in the North Atlantic, several hundred kilometres from any coast, it was stated.

First deployed in 2010 as a replacement for the M45 submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the M51 is now carried by all four ballistic missile submarines in French Navy service. Each of the submarines carries 16 M51s.

Le Triomphant, Le Téméraire and Le Vigilant carry the M51.1 variant, while the youngest submarine in the class and the latest to receive the refit – Le Terrible – carries the M51.2 variant, which has greater range and an improved ability to penetrate enemy defenses.

M51 weighs 54 tons and has a range of 6,000 kilometers. The service is already working on the next upgrade of the weapon, to be referred to as the M51.3, which is expected to enter service by 2025.

French Navy file photo of an M51 launch