French nuclear submarine ‘Le Téméraire’ has test fired an M51 submarine launched ballistic missile.

“The nuclear-powered Le Téméraire successfully fired an M51 strategic ballistic missile off Finistère,” Florence Parly, French Minister of Armed Forces, tweeted Friday morning.

The test was, of course, carried out without a nuclear warhead.

“This test was carried out without nuclear charge and in strict compliance with France’s international commitments. This shot validates the operational capacity of the SNLE Le Téméraire’s global weapon system and once again demonstrates the excellence of high technology that French industries are implementing in this field”, said a French armed forces Ministry statement.

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Le Téméraire.

The M51 missile, is now fitted to all nuclear-powered missile submarines in the French Navy and replaces the M45. The M51 weighs about 54 tons and has a range of about 5,000 miles. It has the ability to carry six to 10 independent thermo-nuclear warheads and enjoys greater accuracy than the previous M45 ballistic missile, which has half of the flight range of the M51.

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It is impressive that the French have been able to go it alone in developing this capability. I know it took them longer to develop the technology but they have managed to do it with similar levels of investment to what the UK government puts in yet we would end up with nothing if we took the same approach.


That is sadly the joys of writing out blank cheques to the likes of BAe, keep paying and paying and paying, a seemingly never ending road of funding that they expect for very little in return.


This…..the money we waste is colossal and BAE must smile everytime the MoD chap their door.


Well if the UK had run a proper space program from the late 60s like France did (and which gave birth to Arianespace) maybe we wouldn’t have to use Trident. But that deal was sealed in 1962 at the Nassau conference, setting us down the path to Polaris.


Yes they’ve managed to keep the skills alive by linking it to a space programme and quite regularly upgrading the missiles performance. The M45 which this replaces was designed to hit the Soviet Union while patrolling off the Atlantic coast, it wasn’t designed for worldwide deployment like the British and American boats but the M51 is 50% heavier and has almost twice the range while still fitting in the existing launch tubes.

peter french

You have to hand it to the French, they develop totally their own equipment and are not reliant on any outside sources as we are ,
they are too proud and patriotic to rely on any but themselves .
Trouble is that they when asked to co develop any weapon , Aircraft is an example they insist on design leadership, similarly on armed forces colaboration they insist on being in Command. The De Gaulle factor


Sorry but nothing can be further from the truth! France has developped many aircraft incl helicopters in collaboration with intl. partners (Airbus 330 MRTT, Tiger, NH90, A400 etc…) even with the UK Jaguar and Concorde. They also collaborated on shipbuilding like Fremm and Horizon with Italy (UK is the one that left the Horizon project) In fact France and Italy have just created a joint venture Naviris developping the European Patrol Corvette. France is working with Germany and Spain on FCAS 6th gen fighter. France is also working with Germany on next gen tank, the MGCS. France has and is… Read more »