M45 (missile)

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M45 SLBM
M-45 missile.svg
Type ICBM
Service history
In service 1996
Production history
Manufacturer EADS SPACE Transportation
Specifications
Weight 35 t
Length 11.05 m
Diameter 1.93 m
Warhead 6 x 110 kt TN 75

Engine 3-stage solid
Operational
range
6,000 km
Guidance
system
Inertial plus computer payload control
Launch
platform
Triomphant class submarines

The M45 SLBM is the current standard French Navy's submarine-launched ballistic missile (In French terminology, the MSBS - Mer-Sol-Ballistique-Stratégique (Sea-ground-Strategic ballistic missile).) Forty-eight M45 are in commission in the Force océanique stratégique, the submarine nuclear deterrent component of the French Navy.

The missiles, derived from the M4, are produced by Aérospatiale (now EADS SPACE Transportation). Initially, an ICBM land-based version was considered but these plans were discarded in 1996 to favour an all-naval deployment.

The M45 differs from its predecessor by its increased range (6,000 km vs. 4,000 km), its increased accuracy and penetration capabilities and its new TN-75 warheads. Each missile carries six MIRVs, each armed with a thermonuclear warhead of 110 kt.

The M45 has a reported accuracy of 350 m CEP using an inertial guidance system coupled with computer payload control. It will be succeeded by the M51 SLBM.

Tests[edit]

In March 1986, a M-4 missile was launched and covered 6,000 km to its target; this flight is rumoured to have been the first test flight for the M-45.[citation needed]

On the night of the 1–2 June 2004, the Triomphant-class submarine Vigilant fired a version of the M45 from the southern part of Brittany; the missile hit its target near French Guiana.

Operators[edit]

 France
Comparison of different nuclear systems: left, the SNLE (Redoutable type) with the M4 missile; right, the SNLE-NG (Triomphant type) with the present M45 missile and the future M51 missile.