France began its first study to equip itself with a nuclear powered submarine in 1956, but different organizational and technological problems forced the project to be abandoned in 1958. However, that same year General de Gaulle came to power and decided that France should possess a nuclear deterrent force against all aggressors, and that should be independent of the United States. After this slogan, all the means for the indigenous construction of both nuclear reactors, missiles and their launchers, in this case, the submarines are put. On March 2, 1963, the order was given to start the program for a “Sous-marin Nucléaire Lanceur d’Engins (SNLE)” or for a “nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN)”. This program would end successfully with the launch of the first French SSBN, the S-611 Le Redoutable on March 29, 1967.

LE REDOUTABLE class gallery and more info


Información adicional

Ficha Completa
Country of origin



DCN, Cherbourg


Ballistic missile nuclear powered submarine

Entered service




Displacement, (full load)

Surfaced: 8,080 tonnes – Submerged: 8,920 tonnes

Dimensions (length x beam x draught)

128.70 x 10.60 x 10.00 meters

Power plant

2 x Pielstick 8PA4V185 diesel engines, 750 Kw (1,019 hp) each, (emergency use only)
1 x 100 MW pressurized water nuclear reactor, 2 geared steam turbines, 16,000 shp

Power, (total)

16,000 shp + 2,038 shp

Shafts - Screws

1 shaft – 1 screw


Surfaced: 20 knots (37 km/h) – Submerged: 25 knots (46 km/h)

Diving depth, (maximum)

300 meters


4 x 533mm torpedo tubes with 18 DTCN L5 or DTCN F17 torpedoes

SSM launcher

Since 1987: Exocet SM.39 mod.2 anti-ship missiles (except Le Redoutable boat)

SLBM launcher

16 x M.1 / M.2 / M.20 / M.4 missiles


6 boats: Le Foudroyant – L'Indomptable – L'Inflexible – Le Redoutable – Le Terrible – Le Tonnant