France: successful M51.3 missile in-flight qualification test [VIDEO]

Source: ArianeGroup, Defence Industry Europe

ArianeGroup and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA - Direction Générale de l'Armement), successfully completed the first flight test of an M51.3 missile from the Ballistic Launch Site (BLB) in Biscarrosse, south-west France. This was the qualification flight of the new M51.3 version of the M51 missile. Operational deployment of the M51.3 is part of the upgrading of the French oceanic strategic deterrent force.


Under seven months after the successful acceptance test firing of an M51 missile from the Le Terrible submarine, a test-flight configuration M51.3 missile without nuclear warhead was launched from the Biscarrosse base.



“This success once again demonstrates the ability of ArianeGroup, together with its industrial ecosystem of over 600 national companies, to competently rise to such a technological challenge. We are now heading towards M51.3 system entry into operational service. This program, which began in 2014, is one of ArianeGroup’s two major programs. It is on schedule and on budget, thanks to the strong directive, oversight of DGA. The ministerial and industrial teams involved in this test firing have once again shown their capacity for collaboration and demonstrated the highest level of collective commitment for DGA,” said Martin Sion, CEO of ArianeGroup.



ArianeGroup is prime contractor for the M51 missile system on behalf of DGA and is the only company in Europe with the expertise to design, develop and build these strategic missiles. ArianeGroup is responsible for the entire lifecycle of the M51, including upstream studies, development, production, operational readiness, and dismantling. ArianeGroup masters all technologies involved: including propellants, thermo-structural composite materials, equipment, engines and solid propulsion stages, guidance, navigation and control systems, system design and integration. Its activities cover the missile itself, production facilities at its sites in Aquitaine (St Medard, Issac, Le Haillan, Candale), near Paris (Les Mureaux) and in Britanny (Brest), missile integration and testing facilities, implementation at the Ile Longue site for embarkation on board submarines, and control/command on board the submarines.




ArianeGroup works with a national industrial ecosystem consisting of large corporations and hundreds of SMEs located throughout France.



The M51 missile, weighing over 50 metric tons and 12 meter long, is designed to be launched from a submerged submarine. Just like the Ariane rocket, it is a concentration of technologies combining power, precision and reliability.

The M51 is incrementally developed to enable it to consistently offer a credible response to a changing strategic and geopolitical context and to fulfil the requirements of France. This means that it has to be at all times at the cutting edge of technology and be able to permanently and reliably maintain its performance at the highest level.



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