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Le Terrible Hits the Water
by James Dunnigan
April 3, 2008

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France has launched the fourth (and last) of its new Triomphant class SSBNs (ballistic missile nuclear submarines), the "Le Terrible". This boat will enter service in two years. The Triomphant class boats displace 12,600 tons, have a crew of 101 and carry 16 M51 ballistic missiles (weighing 56 tons each, carrying six warheads and with a range of 10,000 kilometers). The other three Triomphants, already in service, carry the older M45 missile (weighing 35 tons each, carrying six warheads and with a range of 6,000 kilometers). These boats will get the M51 after the "Le Terrible" enters service. The Triomphants replace the six SSBNs of the Redoutable class, 9,000 ton boats that entered service in 1971 and were retired in 1991. Each of these boats carried sixteen of the shorter range (5,000 kilometers) M4 missiles.

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