Home Europe French ballistic missile sub Le Terrible docks for life-extension overhaul

French ballistic missile sub Le Terrible docks for life-extension overhaul

FS Le Terrible arrives in Brest for dry dock overhaulfor
Photo: Naval Group

The French Navy’s ballistic nuclear submarine (SSBN) Le Terrible has arrived in dock 8 of the Brest naval base to continue its full cycle docking (FCD) refit that will extend its service life for another ten years.

This will be the first FCD for Le Terrible and will involve 14 months of industrial activities to modernize the boat.

The work on the SSBN began at the operational base of l’Ile Longue with two major preparatory operations: the removal of weapons and the fuel elements from the nuclear reactor.

FS Le Terrible will now undergo major maintenance and modernization works, which will span 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, French shipbuilder Naval Group who is responsible for coordinating the work said.

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.

France operates four Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarines that carry the modernized M51 submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) with TN 75 warheads. The boats measure 138 meters in length and displace 12,500 tons. Each of the submarines can carry 16 M51s.

It is worth noting that FS Le Terrible, as the youngest of the four submarines in the class, carries the M51.2 variant, which has greater range and an improved ability to penetrate enemy defenses.