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Mar 21, 2024

France Commences Construction of Next-Generation SSBNs, Enhancing Nuclear Security

Cherbourg, March 20th – A significant milestone was achieved at Naval Group’s shipyard as the steel cutting ceremony marked the commencement of hull production for the first third-generation French SSBN. This ceremonial event not only symbolizes the inception of construction for these submarines but also signifies a pivotal step towards ensuring France’s nuclear deterrence capabilities well into the 21st century.

The SSBNs, among the most intricate systems in France’s strategic oceanic force (FOST), play a crucial role in maintaining nuclear deterrence at sea.

Launched in February 2021, the SNLE 3G program for the French Navy is a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders including the armed forces, the French defense procurement agency (DGA), the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and Naval Group, in association with TechnicAtome.

Pierre Éric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group, expressed pride in the symbolic initiation of the hull production for the first 3rd-generation SSBN. He emphasized the commitment of Naval Group, alongside its partners, to serve French sovereignty and nuclear deterrence through the utilization of their skills, talents, and industrial resources.

The program’s initial follow-on contract, awarded in February 2021, encompasses development studies until the end of 2025, long lead time procurement, production of the first hull and boiler room components for the first 3G SSBN, and adaptation of manufacturing resources to meet the specific requirements of the 3G SSBNs.

The production of crucial components for the nuclear boiler room and propulsion system has already commenced at Naval Group’s Nantes-Indret site.

This ambitious industrial program, involving all of Naval Group’s sites in France, aims to construct the largest submarine ever built in the country. With a heritage of 125 years in submarine construction in Cherbourg, Naval Group brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the project.

The SNLE 3G program is anticipated to generate significant economic activity in France, with almost 90% of its added value expected to be produced domestically, supporting approximately 3,000 highly skilled jobs.

This national endeavor will involve over 400 companies and 400 skills across France, showcasing the collaborative spirit and expertise of the French naval industry.

The forthcoming 3G SSBNs will introduce several technological advancements, including enhanced stealth, extended detection capability, and improved operational capabilities, ensuring superior performance for the French Navy until the end of the 2080s.

Moreover, the modernization efforts will not be limited to the new submarines alone. The current French SSBNs (SNLE 2G) will also benefit from these innovations, ensuring optimal performance throughout their operational lifespan up to the 2050s.

In summary, the commencement of hull production for the first third-generation French SSBN marks a significant stride towards reinforcing France’s nuclear deterrence posture and underscores the nation’s commitment to maintaining its strategic capabilities well into the future.

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Original Post by Naval Group

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