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Successful First Submarine Launch of M51 Ballistic Missile

Successful First Submarine Launch of M51 Ballistic Missile

Astrium and the French defence procurement agency (DGA) have successfully performed the third experimental launch of the M51 ballistic missile from the Ballistic Launching Base (BLB) in Biscarosse. The flight met all expectations. Source: Astrium. Biscarosse, November 13, 2008.

  • Third success in a row for Astrium

This test, which was performed from the BLB’s submerged launch platform, enabled DGA and Astrium personnel to validate the M51’s entire underwater phase: shooting the missile from a launch tube on a device-launching nuclear submarine (SNLE), M51 ignition and surfacing from the water.

Third experimental launch of the M51.  Photo © DGA-CELM site Landes.

Third experimental launch of the M51

This success confirms that the missile is ready to be loaded on and launched from the SSBN, and paves the way for further test launches from the submarine “Le Terrible” before the M51 enters operational service in 2010.

Third experimental launch of the M51.  Photo © DGA-CELM site Landes.

Third experimental launch of the M51

François Auque, Chairman and CEO of Astrium, commented: “This success is a landmark that consolidates the progress of the M51 programme. It also confirms the competence of the Astrium teams and their ability to master highly complex technologies.”

Astrium is prime contractor for the development, production, and maintenance in operational condition of the M51 missile. G2P, Thales and Sagem are the main subcontractors in this programme, which occupies over a thousand engineers and technicians at Astrium.

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Astrium had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, EADS generated revenues of €39.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116,000.

Media contacts :

  • Matthieu Duvelleroy (Astrium FR) Phone: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

  • Jeremy Close (Astrium UK) Phone: +44 (0) 1 438 77 3872

  • Mathias Pikelj (Astrium GER) Phone: +49 (0) 7545 8 9123

  • Francisco Lechón (Astrium SP) Phone: +34 91 586 37 41

  • www.astrium.eads.net

See also :

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).