|Name Redoutable class|
Operators French Navy
Succeeded by Triomphant class
Preceded by Gymnote
The 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 The class has been superseded by the Triomphant class, firing the larger M45 missile (M51 from around 2010).
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.