DCNS Wins EUR 1b to Maintain France’s Nuclear Subs
State-owned DCNS is France’s only warship supplier, just as BAE Systems has become Britain’s sole warship supply and maintenance source. In November 2009, DCNS received 2 major contracts for through-life support services of France’s nuclear-powered submarine fleets. The 1st is covers France’s 6 nuclear-powered fast attack submarines (SSNs) for 5 years; the 2nd covers French nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs) for 5.5 years.
The contracts have a of number provisions related to specific ships. They break down as follows:
The SSN contract, worth over EUR 500 million, calls for Toulon-based through-life support services from 2010 – 2014, beginning with routine maintenance, engineering, and logistic support for all 6 Rubis Amethyste class SSNs: FS Rubis, FS Saphir, FS Casabianca, FS Emeraude, FS Amethyste and FS Perle.
FS Saphir will receive an intermediate refit, including refueling of its nuclear reactor reactor refuelling, lasting 9 months. Saphir was launched in 1981, and commissioned in 1984.
Another 3 SSNs (FS Casabianca, FS Rubis, and FS Emeraude) will receive 18 month “complete overhauls” that include the removal, refurbishment and refitting of all subsystems and equipment. They were commissioned from 1987-1992.
The last set of provisions cover upgrades and through-life support services for the INBS nuclear facility in the Toulon naval base’s Missiessy zone, and the tactical simulator at the ENSM (Ecole de Navigation Sous-Marine) naval school.
The 2nd EUR 500 million contract covers SSBN nuclear missile submarines operated by the Strategic Ocean Force (FOST). This contract is centered around the Brittany port of Brest from November 2009 – December 2015.
It includes routine maintenance for all 4 Le Triomphant class SSBNs: FS Le Triomphant, FS Le Temeraire, FS Le Vigilant, and FS Le Terrible, including engineering and logistic support.
In addition, through-life support will be extended to SSBN-related training facilities, vaguely-specified and probably classified “specific French Navy systems,” and shore-based facilities, including FOST relay antenna stations.
Britain has chosen to run its submarine-launched ballistic missile program in tandem with the USA, and uses the Trident missile. France does not, which means the burden of designing, testing, and integrating new missiles falls entirely on their nation. The country is developing a new 6-warhead SLBM designated M51, which will replace existing M45 missiles in the fleet by 2020. As part of the SSBN support contract, DCNS will finish outfitting the new SSBN Le Terrible for the new M51 ballistic missile. Le Terrible is scheduled for commissioning in 2010, and current plans will make it the last submarine of its class.
- DCNS (Nov 24/09) – DCNS awarded contracts worth [EUR] 1bn to maintain French Navy’s SSNs and SSBNs
- Naval Technology – SSN Rubis Amethyste Class Attack Submarine, France
- Global Security – SNA Rubis
- Naval Technology – SSBN Triomphant Class Ballistic Missile Submarines, France
- Global Security – Le Triomphant SNLE
- Global Security – M-5 / M-51
- DID – France’s Future SSNs: The Barracuda Class
- DID – French President Tries to Set French Defense on a New Course
- Defense Aerospace (Sept 25/06) – M51 Missile Nears First Test Launch; Will Equip Final SSBN in 2010