France Begins SSBN Replacement Program

February 19, 2021 – Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed forces, will announce this Friday, at the Centre of expertise for Hydrodynamic techniques of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), the launch of the program for the third generation of SSBN (SNLE 3G) for the French Navy. This submarine program is a major challenge for Naval Group, a leading industry partner in the service of the French sovereignty. The first of class is scheduled to enter operational service by 2035. Three other submarines will then be delivered, every five years.

Pierre-Eric Pommellet, Naval Group CEO, declared on this occasion: “Naval Group is very proud to put its skills, talents and industrial resources at the service of France’s nuclear deterrence. The whole company will be mobilized with its partners to carry out this exceptional project. We are aware of our responsibility and we will do our utmost, as previous generations have done, to provide France with the tool of its sovereignty.”

SSBN remain one of the most complex industrial products ever made. Their design and construction require rare know-how, unique industrial means and the ability to federate the contributions of two hundred partner companies that make up the French defence industrial base, present across the country.

Naval Group benefits from a unique position as a systems architect and integrator which enables it, in collaboration with TechnicAtome, the prime contractor for the nuclear boiler room, to commit to the overall performance of these armed vessels, to assume overall responsibility for their construction and to guarantee control of quality, deadlines and costs.

The program aims to provide a new generation of four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines that will serve the French Navy’s operational needs between the 2030s and the 2090s.

They will gradually replace the second-generation SSBN that will be phased out of active service during 2030s and 2040s, to be replaced by these third-generation submarines.

The SNLE 3G program is being carried out on behalf of the French government, under the auspices of the DGA and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), in conjunction with the Armed Forces Staff and the French Navy.

More than 200 companies from the French defence industrial and technological base will work with Naval Group to provide design or construction services for equipment and systems.

In the end, over the next 30 years, this program will represent up to 100 million hours of work, including 15 million hours of design and more than 80 million hours of construction.

Most of Naval Group’s sites will be mobilised for this program.

At the Cherbourg site, more than 300 employees work in design activities, and construction represent more than 2,000 employees. The teams in Cherbourg will build the platform (hull, structure, part of the internal modules), integrate the equipment and systems into the platform, and carry out the commissioning and testing of the submarine’s facilities.

The Nantes-Indret site will produce the main components of the boiler room and build the major modules, such as the engine unit module and the nuclear boiler room module.

The Angoulême-Ruelle site will design and build the submarine’s structural equipment: weapon launcher tubes, masts, weapon handling system, etc.

The Ollioules site will be the reference site for embedded information systems. It will design and integrate the combat system and the control system.

The Bagneux site concentrates various program management activities.

The Lorient site will contribute to the design of the SNLE 3G, and will produce the composite parts.

The Brest site will be called upon to prepare the reception and support of the future SNLE 3G, at the heart of the Ile Longue base, as well as its tests on the launching device in Cherbourg.

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