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|Preceded by:||Redoutable class|
|Cost:||€17.1 billion(2009) in total, €3.1 billion (2009) for Terrible|
|Type:||Ballistic missile submarine|
|Length:||138 m (453 ft)|
|Beam:||12.50 m (41.0 ft)|
|Draught:||10.60 m (34.8 ft)|
|Speed:||over 25 kn (46 km/h)|
|Range:||Unlimited distance; 20–25 years|
|Test depth:||Over 400 m (1,300 ft)|
The Triomphant class of ballistic missile submarines of the French Navy is the active lead boat class of four boats that entered service in 1997, 1999, 2004, and 2010. These four supersede the older Redoutable class, and they provide the ocean-based component (the Force océanique stratégique) of France's nuclear deterrent strike force, the Force de Frappe. These ships are the most expensive submarines ever produced costing more than €9 billion. Their home port is Île Longue, Brest, Western Brittany.
The first three boats are all armed with the French-produced and armed M45 intermediate-range missile, and the fourth vessel, Terrible, has tested and is equipped with the more advanced M51 missile. Each of the first three boats are to be retrofitted to the M51 missile standard, starting with Vigilant in 2010, then Triomphant and ending with Téméraire in 2018.
In French, these are called Sous-Marin Nucléaire Lanceur d'Engins de Nouvelle Génération (English: "Next Generation Device-Launching Nuclear Submarine"), abbreviated as SNLE-NG. They have replaced all of the Redoutable-class boats, with the last of those six boats being decommissioned in 2008. These submarines carry 16 submarine-launched ballistic missile launching tubes apiece.
This class reportedly produces approximately 1/1000 of the detectable noise of the Redoutable-class boats (submarines), and they are ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines. Initially armed with the M45 missile, they are designed to carry the new M51 missile, which entered active service in 2010. As of October 2010[update], an M51 has been test-fired from one of these submarines across the Atlantic Ocean from near France to the west, and is equipped on Terrible.
These boats were all constructed by the DCNS, and they carry an armament of 16 M45 SLBM or M51 SLBM missiles manufactured by the Aérospatiale company (now Airbus Defence and Space), plus conventional torpedoes and Exocet anti-ship missiles.
The French Navy's goal is to operate a force of four ballistic missile submarines (comparable with the Royal Navy's Vanguard-class submarines), of which two are expected to be on patrol at any given time.
|Le Triomphant||9 June 1986||26 March 1994||21 March 1997|
|Le Téméraire||18 December 1993||21 January 1998||23 December 1999|
|Le Vigilant||January 1996||19 September 2003||26 November 2004|
|Le Terrible||24 October 2000||21 March 2008||20 September 2010|
On 3 February or 4 February 2009, Triomphant collided with the Royal Navy submarine HMS Vanguard; the Royal Navy boat suffered minor scrapes and scratches. Triomphant was reported to have proceeded to Brest under her own power, submerged, but with extensive damage to her sonar dome.
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