France is to build a fourth ballistic missile nuclear submarine. The submarine, "Le Terrible", will enter service in 2008. France already has "Le Triomphant" and "Le Temeraire" in service and "Vigilant" will be ready by 2004. The submarines are built at DCN's Cherbourg shipyard. The first of class submarine was launched in July 1993 and entered service in 1997. The second of class, Le Temeraire (S617), entered service last year, and the third, Le Vigilant (S618), is under construction.
The submarine carries 16 vertically launched M45 ballistic missiles, supplied by Aerospatiale. The inertial control and guidance system is equipped with a Sagittaire digital computer supplied by Dassault Electronique. The missile carries a thermonuclear warhead, with six Multiple Re-entry Vehicles, each of 150 kT, in the TN-71 warhead. The range is 6,000 km. The submarine's surface to surface missile is the Exocet SM39. It has four 533 mm torpedo tubes and has the capacity to carry a mixed load of 18 ECAN L5 Mod 3 torpedoes and Exocet missiles.
The DR 3000U electronic support system supplied by Thomson-CSF is a radar warning receiver operating in D to K bands. The system uses a masthead antenna array with omnidirectional and monopulse directional antennas and a separate periscope warning antenna.
Triomphant class submarines have a submerged speed in excess of 25 knots and a surface speed of 20 knots.