As part of the IA M51 programme (ROH* / adaptation for the M51 missile), Le Téméraire, the last of the three French ballistic nuclear submarines (SSBN) to benefit from this upgrade, was transferred on Tuesday, 6 December, from Île Longue to dock 8 of the naval base in Brest, where this large-scale work is carried out with DCNS as prime contractor.
After preparation operations on Île Longue, the M51 / ROH adaptation work starts at dock 8 of the naval base in Brest. For the next 18 months, DCNS teams will be carrying out the adaptation work for the M51 ballistic missile and the extensive refit maintenance operations involved in the major technical shutdown.
Involving nothing but superlatives (140 km of cable to be fed through, 60 tons of engine seatings to be welded, 1.3 million parts to be supplied), the ROH and adaptation operation for the M51 missile is being supervised by DCNS with the French defence procurement agency (DGA) and the Fleet Support Service (SSF) as joint client. The objective is to carry out the third and final ROH / adaptation programme after those on Le Vigilant and Le Triomphant. Le Terrible, the latest in the series of new-generation of SSBNs has been equipped with the M51 missile from the outset.
In addition to the complete maintenance programme, carried out every 9 years on this class of submarine, and the adaptation to accommodate the new M51 missile, the navigation and combat systems will be upgraded. Because of their size (138 metres long, 12,500 tons), onboard technologies at the cutting edge of scientific progress, and the constraints relating to their use in operations, these submarines are among the most complex systems produced in the world.
A workforce of 1,100
The scope of the work will require an increase in the headcount on the site. As a result, 1,100 people will be taking part in the programme during the peak of activity in dock 8, with an organisation in three shifts, six days a week. “This complex project illustrates the expertise of DCNS, as prime contractor and project supervisor. In addition to our own teams on the sites in Brest, Ruelle and elsewhere, we are coordinating the work of some 45 companies in the region around Brest and the West of France that have been called upon to carry out with us the 4 million hours of work required by the overhaul, all in compliance with our safety, deadlines and quality of work specifications,” explains Michel Drévillon, director of the IA M51 programme.
As part of its Progress Plan and objectives to increase safety at work, DCNS has launched various performance measures in order to optimise the rhythm of the three eight-hour shifts, peaks in activity and interventions on the site. Finally, thanks to feedback from the ROH / adaptation work on the SSBN Le Triomphant, on this project, DCNS has further strengthened its ties with its subcontractors: a shared performance plan has been set up to meet the challenge of carrying out the full ROH / Adaptation programme in 1 month less than the last.
* ROH: (Regular Overhaul) a major technical stop designed to restore a vessel’s potential for a new operational cycle.