Redoutable-class submarine (1967)

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Redoutable-class submarine
FS Redoutable.jpg
Le Redoutable
Class overview
Name: Le Redoutable class
Builders: DCNS
Operators:  French Navy
Preceded by: Gymnote
Succeeded by: Triomphant class
Built: 1964–1985
In commission: 1971–2008
Completed: 6
Retired: 5
Preserved: 1
General characteristics
Type: Ballistic missile submarine
Displacement: 8,000 tons (submerged)
Length: 128 m (420 ft)
Beam: 10.6 m (35 ft)
Draught: 10 m (33 ft)
  • One PWR
  • 16,000 shp (12,000 kW)
Speed: over 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range: Unlimited distance; 20–25 years
  • 15 officers
  • 120 sailors
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 DRUA 33
  • 1 DMUX 21
  • 1 DSUV 61B VLF
  • 1 DUUX 5
  • ARUR 12 radar detector
  • 16 × M4 MSBS (Mer-Sol Balistique Stratégique) nuclear missiles
  • 4 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
  • F-17 and L-5 torpedoes
  • SM-39 Exocet anti-ship missile

The Le Redoutable-class submarine was a ballistic missile submarine class of the French Marine Nationale. In French, the type is called Sous-marin Nucléaire Lanceur d'Engins (SNLE), literally "Missile-launching nuclear submarine". When commissioned, they constituted the strategic part of the naval component of the French nuclear triad, then called Force de frappe (the aircraft carriers Clemenceau and Foch constituting the tactical part).

The class entered active service in 1971 with Redoutable, six submarines were built in total. All have since been decommissioned. The structural changes in Inflexible have seen it regarded as a different class from the early boats. The class has been superseded by the Triomphant class, firing the larger M45 missile (M51 from around 2010).

Service history[edit]

The first submarine, Redoutable, was ordered in 1963, built at Cherbourg, launched in 1967 and commissioned in 1971. The first of the class were armed with the M1 MSBS (Mer-Sol Balistique Stratégique), the French term for a submarine-launched ballistic missile. This was replaced by the M2 MSBS beginning in 1974, which was in turn replaced by the M20 MSBS beginning in 1977. All except Redoutable were heavily upgraded from 1985 to fire the second generation MIRV capable M4 missile – Tonnant was recommissioned in 1987; Indomptable in 1989; Terrible in 1990; and Foudroyant in 1993.

Redoutable has been preserved since 2002 as a museum ship at the Cité de la Mer naval museum in Cherbourg-Octeville, France. With the reactor compartment replaced by a new section, she is the only complete ballistic missile submarine open to the public.[1]

Vessels in class[edit]

Redoutable-class submarines[2]
Number Name Laid down Launched Completed Fate Notes
S611 Redoutable 30 March 1964 29 March 1967 1 December 1971 Stricken December 1991 Museum ship
S612 Terrible 24 June 1967 12 December 1969 1 January 1973 1996
S610 Foudroyant 12 December 1969 4 December 1971 6 July 1974 1998 first M2 submarine
S613 Indomptable 4 December 1971 17 August 1974 23 December 1976 2003
S614 Tonnant October 1974 17 September 1977 3 April 1980 December 1999
S615 Inflexible 27 March 1980 23 June 1982 1 April 1985 2008 first M4 submarine

See also[edit]

Citations and references[edit]


  1. ^ "Le Redoutable, le plus grand sous-marin visitable au monde!" [Le Redoutable, The largest submarine open to the public in the world!]. Cite de la Mer (in French). 
  2. ^ Gardiner and Chumbley, pp. 122–123


  • Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen (1995). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. London: Conway Maritime Press. pp. 96, 122–123. ISBN 1-55750-132-7. 
  • Miller, David; O'Neill, Richard (Ed.) (1982). An Illustrated Guide to Modern Submarines. Arco. ISBN 0-66805-495-6.