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Naval Group Starts Building French 3rd-Gen Nuclear Submarine

Our Bureau - : Mar 21, 2024 - : 1:28 am

Naval Group commenced the steel-cutting ceremony for the first third-generation French SSBN (SNLE 3G) at the group’s shipyard in Cherbourg on Wednesday (Mar. 20). The event marks the beginning of submarine construction intended to sustain France’s nuclear deterrence capability into the 21st century.

The SNLE 3G program is a collaborative effort involving the French armed forces, the Defence Procurement Agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement – DGA), the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and the Naval Group in conjunction with TechnicAtome for the nuclear boilers.

“We are proud to symbolically launch the production of the hull of the first 3rd-generation SSBN today, alongside the DGA, the French Navy, the Atomic Energy Commission and TechnicAtome, as well as all our state and industrial partners,” said Pierre Éric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group. 

“Through this major program, Naval Group is fully committed to serving French sovereignty and nuclear deterrence, by mobilizing all its skills, talents and industrial resources, and by drawing on a solid defence industrial and technological base, spread across the country,” he added.

The program’s initial follow-on contract, awarded in February 2021, encompasses development studies until 2025, long lead time procurement, production of the first hull and boiler room components for the initial submarine, and adaptation of manufacturing resources to meet the specific requirements of the submarines.

Production of key components for the nuclear boiler room and propulsion system, including the tank for the first SNLE 3G, is already underway at Naval Group’s Nantes-Indret site.

The new submarines will feature significant technological advancements compared to their predecessors, offering the French Navy enhanced operational capabilities. These submarines will be exceptionally discreet, equipped with extended detection capabilities, enhanced stealth, high-performance weapons and combat systems, and will ensure the highest levels of nuclear safety and security.

Current French SSBNs (SNLE 2G) will also benefit from some of these innovations to enhance performance until the arrival of the 3G SSBNs.


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