Infobox Weapon
name=M51 SLBM

manufacturer=EADS Astrium Space Transportation
unit_cost=4 billion Euro for the program
engine=three stage solid propellant
weight=52,000 kg
length=12.0 m
diameter=2.3 m
speed=Mach 15
vehicle_range=>8000 km
filling=M51.1 = 6 TN 75 MIRV using the 100 kt of TNT (420 TJ), with penetration aids.
M51.2 (2015) = using the new Tête Nucléaire Océanique
guidance=Inertial & star positioning
launch_platform="Triomphant" class submarines
The M51 SLBM is the French Navy's future submarine launched ballistic missile, designed to replace the M45 SLBM (In French terminology the MSBS - "Mer-Sol-Balistique-Stratégique" “Sea-ground-Strategic ballistic”).

Each missile carries six independently targetable TN 75 thermonuclear warheads.

The three-stage engine of the M51 is directly derived from the propellant boosters of Ariane 5.

The missiles are a compromise over the M5 SLBM design, which is to have a range of 11,000 km (6,200 miles) and carry 10 TNO MIRV of the new generation ("Tête Nucléaire Océanique", “Oceanic nuclear warhead”). The M51 will enter service in 2010.

Flight tests

The M51 performed its first flight test (unarmed) on the 9 November 2006 from the French missile flight test centre in Biscarrosse (Landes). The target was reached twenty minutes later, in the north-west of the Atlantic Ocean. [http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3224,36-832834@51-832837,0.html]

A second successful test was carried out on the 21 June 2007 [http://www.defense.gouv.fr/defense/layout/set/popup/content/view/full/95202] .


; FRA: The French Navy expects to have the M51 enter service in 2010, and will be the only operator of the missile.

External links

* [http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datab16.asp nrdc.org: Table of French Nuclear Forces, 2002]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/france/m-5.htm globalsecurity.org M-5 / M-51]
* [http://www.aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_awst_story.jsp?id=news/aw102306p1.xml M51 Gives France More Flexible Deterrent To Meet Changing Threats] , "Aviation Week"

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