Scrapping Commences for Retired SSBN Le Tonnant

After transferring for their final “odyssey” the hulls of the ex-SNLE Le Tonnant on September 11, 2018 and L’Indomptable on March 9, 2020, the port resources department of the Cherbourg naval base proceeded to the entry and grounding maneuver of the Foudroyant in form 5 of Naval Group, on Thursday, September 9, 2021. Its deconstruction entrusted to this industrialist by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) will therefore be able to begin.

Despite the experience of the women and men of the base in this type of operation, the latter is still particularly delicate in view of the water height constraints related to the infrastructure and the technical requirements to proceed with the deconstruction of the hull.

Indeed, the tolerances on the longitudinal positioning of the Lightning bolt placed on its line of tins are a few centimeters and those of the lodging, transverse inclination of the ship, of the order of 1/2 degree, or a few centimeters of permissible offset on the circumference of the hull. In addition to the intrinsic qualities of each person, the success of this operation therefore lies in the care taken in the coordination between the nautical means and the shore teams of the “basins” group, illustration of the essential complementarity between the military and civilian personnel of the Cherbourg naval base.

Third nuclear submarine launcher of devices (SNLE) of the Le Redoutable class out of a total of 6 buildings built, the Foudroyant had been launched from the holds of the Arsenal of Cherbourg in December 1971 and admitted to active service in 1974. It will ensure without fail for more than 20 years the posture of deterrence. Retired from service in 1998, it will then join Cherbourg for its dismantling.

Valiant ship of the Navy, it is now entering the last phase of its existence where, under the expert hands of industrialists, it will be deconstructed into by-products, most of which will be revalued in ad hoc sectors following the old adage “nothing is lost, nothing is created: everything is transformed”.

At the end of this deconstruction of about 14 months, the last two hulls of the Terrible and The Inflexible will also be treated. The Redoutable will remain the ultimate witness of the golden age of the M4, sheltered in the form of a refit of the Cité de la Mer where it fascinates its many visitors every day.

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