The Deconstruction of the SNLE Le Tonnant Submarine

The Deconstruction of the SNLE Le Tonnant Submarine

The Deconstruction of the SNLE Le Tonnant Submarine

The Deconstruction of the SNLE Le Tonnant Submarine

On 11 September in Cherbourg, Naval Group started deconstruction operations on five first generation ballistic missile submarines (SSBN). Project manager for the global contract awarded by France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), Naval Group has entrusted Veolia with the contract relating to deconstruction and recovery operations on these end-of-life submarines. An unprecedented project in France, it continues on from the deconstruction operations on end-of-life ships, the former helicopter cruiser Jeanne d’Arc and the former cruiser Colbert, conducted by Veolia since 2014. After the SSBN Le Tonnant, the 4 submarines Le Terrible, Le Foudroyant, L’Indomptable and L’Inflexible will in turn be dismantled. Recyclable materials from the operation – mainly ferrous and non-ferrous metals – will be sorted and prepared for sale. 87% of these materials can be recycled. Each vessel will take 18 months to process.
The Deconstruction of the SNLE Le Tonnant Submarine

The Deconstruction of the SNLE Le Tonnant Submarine


Le Tonnant (S614) is the sixth and final of the Redoutable-class SNLE (“Sous-marin Nucléaire Lanceur d’Engins”, “Nuclear Missile-Launching Submarine”) of the Force océanique stratégique (FOST), the submarine nuclear deterrent component of the French Navy. The Le Redoutable-class submarine was a ballistic missile submarine class of the French Marine Nationale. 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 The class has been superseded by the Triomphant class, firing the larger M45 missile (M51 from around 2010).

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