First look at next generation French SSBN
France’s Triomphant Class SSBNs are among the most modern submarines in NATO, but work is already underway on a replacement set to enter service around 2032. Defense news website Navy Recognition got an early look at the replacement design from Naval Group.
The third generation of French SSBN (after the Redoutable Class and Triomphant Class), the program is currently known as SNLE-3G (Sous-Marin Nucléaire Lanceur d'Engins de 3rd Génération). Work on the project bagan in 2012 and full-scale development is expected in 2019. Four boats are planned and the 2017 budget allocation was 117,733,692 Euros.
The SNLE-3G will be larger than the current Triomphant Class SSBN, by about 6-10 meters in length and about 2,000 tons in displacement (14,500 tons surfaced versus 12,640 tons). This is similar to a trend in other western SSBN projects such as the US Navy's Colombia Class and Royal Navy Dreadnought Class. The increase is likely driven by the reactor and machinery space which will be significantly quieter than the current generation. It will not translate into more missile tubes however: according to previous information, SNLE-3G will carry 16 ballistic missiles. The general trend in Western designs is toward fewer missiles.
Displacement: 14,500 tons surfaced
Length: 148 meters (est)
Armament: 16 x SLBMs (M-51 or replacement), torpedo tubes for F21 533mm (21") heavyweight torpedoes
1. 2. 3.
- Redoubtabe Class (SNLE-1G), 2. Triomphant Class (SNLE-2G), 3. DCNS (now Naval Group) timeline including projected SNLE-3G entry into service.
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The combination of sail mounted forward hydroplanes and x-form stern control surfaces is similar to the Colombia Class. The long rider surfaces are distinctive however. Overall the design appears advanced and in keeping with the pace of submarine development, but still relatively conventional. It is not a radical departure from current boats in terms of overall form. Internally however key systems such as propulsion and sonar may be significantly evolved.
Image from Navy Recognition
The latest representation is broadly consistent with earlier graphics from 2017. Note that the X-rudders are smaller and the addition of a towed array tube on the center line:
Naval Group (/DCNS), 2017
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