|In service||27 september 2010|
|Manufacturer||EADS Astrium Space Transportation|
|Unit cost||4 billion Euro for the programme|
|Warhead||M51.1 = 6 to 10 TN 75 MIRV (100 kiloton (kt) (420 TJ), with penetration aids.|
M51.2 (2015) = using the new Tête Nucléaire Océanique150 kt
|Engine||three stage solid propellant (APCP)|
|>10,000 km |
|Inertial & star positioning|
|Triomphant class submarines|
The M51 SLBM is a submarine-launched ballistic missile, built by EADS Astrium Space Transportation, and deployed with the French Navy. Designed to replace the M45 SLBM (In French terminology the MSBS - Mer-Sol-Balistique-Stratégique “Sea-ground-Strategic ballistic”), it was first deployed in 2010.
The three-stage engine of the M51 is directly derived from the solid propellant boosters of Ariane 5.
The missiles are a compromise over the M5 SLBM design, which is to have a range of 11,000 km (6,800 mi) and carry 10 TNO MIRV of the new generation (Tête Nucléaire Océanique, “Oceanic nuclear warhead”). The M51 entered service in 2010.
Flight tests[edit | edit source]
The M51 performed its first flight test (unarmed) on 9 November 2006 from the French missile flight test centre in Biscarrosse (Landes). The target was reached twenty minutes later, in the north-west of the Atlantic Ocean.
On 27 January 2010, at 9h25, a missile was launched underwater by the Le Terrible, from Audierne Bay. The missile reached its target 2,000 kilometres off South Carolina; the 4,500 kilometre flight took less than 20 minutes.
On 5 May 2013 an M51 flight test missile, failed after being fired by a submerged SSBN off the coast of Brittany. This was the first failed launch of the M51 after 5 successful launches since 2006.
Operators[edit | edit source]
- French Navy is the only operator of the missile.
Sources and references[edit | edit source]
- "M51: a new generation of missile". Astrium. http://www.astrium.eads.net/en/programme2/m-51-juy.html. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- (French) Le Monde — Test réussi pour le M51, futur missile nucléaire à longue portée français
- (French) Second successful launch of the M51 missile, press release of the French ministry of Defence
- (French) Third M51 missile experimental launch, French ministry of Defence
- Un missile M-51 a été tiré depuis un sous-marin en plongée ce matin, Jean-Dominique Merchet, Libération
- Le missile M-51 est retombé à 2000 kilomètres des côtes américaines, Jean-Dominique Merchet, Libération
- Tir d’essai du missile M51, Ministry of Defence
- "Le Terrible Qualifies for Operational Launch of M51 Missile". Defence.Professionals. 13 July 2010. http://www.defpro.com/news/details/16676/. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
- nrdc.org: Table of French Nuclear Forces, 2002
- globalsecurity.org M-5 / M-51
- M51 Gives France More Flexible Deterrent To Meet Changing Threats, Aviation Week
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