|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 océanique 150 kt
|Engine||three stage solid propellant (APCP)|
|8,000-10,000 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 Tête nucléaire océanique' MIRV of the new generation (Tête Nucléaire Océanique, “Oceanic nuclear warhead”). The M51 entered service in 2010.
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.
Sources and references
- The New French Nuclear Posture
- M51 Missile Nears First Test Launch; Will Equip Final SSBN in 2010
- "M51: a new generation of missile". Astrium. 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. 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