ECA Group and TechnicAtome partners for the electrical system of the 3rd generation submarines

According to a PR published by ECA Group on October 4, 2022, as part of the 3rd generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) program, TechnicAtome and ECA Group have recently signed a major contract for the production of the submarines’ electrical systems. The signing of the contract marks the progress of the program in its implementation phase.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Signature of the partnership between TechnicAtome and ECA Group. (Picture source: ECA Group)

The signing of the contract is the result of a competition with various manufacturers which mobilized TechnicAtome's teams for over a year. ECA Group is one of the specialist manufacturers on TechnicAtome's panel of equipment suppliers for power electronics, and was selected for its innovative solutions that meet the requirements of nuclear propulsion: reliability, safety, performance, and durability.

In addition to the SNLE 3G program, the contract between TechnicAtome and ECA Group is part of a wider collaboration. ECA Group already equips the Barracuda nuclear attack submarines in service and under construction, as well as the current nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, such as Le Triomphant. The nuclear plant for the 3G SSBNs, designed as are all the naval nuclear propulsion plants by TechnicAtome, includes significant innovations.

The SNLE 3G (Sous-Marin Nucléaire Lanceur d'Engins de Troisieme Génération "third generation nuclear ballistic missile submarine") is a class of submarines under development for the French Navy's nuclear deterrent, part of the Force de dissuasion. It is being designed as a replacement for the current Triomphant class beginning around 2035, and could remain in service to as late as 2090.

The SNLE 3G submarines are expected to join the fleet from 2035 and remain in service until 2080–2090. The first metal will be cut for the vessels in 2023 and completed submarines delivered at a rate of one every five years from 2035, with the programme completing in 2050.

The vessels are expected to be slightly longer and larger in displacement than the Triomphant class. They are expected to have improved acoustic and magnetic shielding to reduce their visibility to detection systems.

The vessels are expected to be otherwise similar in design to their predecessors. They will carry around 100 crew and be armed with 16 M51 nuclear missiles.

The M51, which is currently in use on the Triomphant class, will be upgraded and developed in the future. The SNLE 3G will feature an X-shaped stern as introduced on the Barracuda-class attack submarine. The SNLE 3G will be powered by the same K15 nuclear reactor as used on the Barracuda class.