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French Final Ballistic Missile Submarine being launched.

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posted on Mar, 25 2008 @ 08:24 PM

A beautiful boat. I do have a question that big rectangular outline the torpedoe tube? I usually see pics of the torpedoe tube and I never seen something like this. Unless this is some kind of sonar array I mistaken it for. Or perhaps this is their version of how they launch torpedoes with 2 tubes in one big door. The reason I stated two tubes in one is because of the scale in the first pic with the men standing nearby. Besides that, two tubes would make no sense when trying to launch massive firepower against the enemy when most subs have 4 or even 8 tubes. Just asking.

posted on Mar, 25 2008 @ 09:06 PM
A very beautiful boat I concur but from what I can see is her name the "Le Terrible"? I mean seriously, it can't be.

posted on Mar, 25 2008 @ 09:17 PM
reply to post by WestPoint23

Yep it is indeed named the Le Terrible.

Manage to find a video of this prepared launch. Posted on youtube a day ago. Got a clear view of the pump jet propulsor.

posted on Mar, 25 2008 @ 10:38 PM
Yes, I'm pretty sure the long rectangular shapes on the side are passive sonar arrays. The Seawolf's and Virginia's have similar arrays.

The tubes are the smaller rectangular indentations closer to the bow.

Le Terrible is supposed to mean "terrible" as in frightening, not "terrible" as in "sucks"

The connotations of the word in French are closer to the older meaning in English I guess.

Nice pics, good find

[edit on 3/25/08 by xmotex]

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 12:45 AM
reply to post by deltaboy

The long rectangular outline running down the side length of the hull has a bevel flushing or fairing it to the the sonar.

The long slotted rectulangular outline foreward of this ,close to the bow, is the torpedo shutter door. A shutter door keeps the hull clean and faired flush when the boat is running and the torpedo door shut.
This shutter door is usually connected to the muzzle door by a common linkage When the muzzle door is completely open the shutter door must be completely open and vice versa. Not smart to shoot a torpedo if either door is not completely open. It has happened too..the olde torpedo stuck in the tube or half in and half out.. Talk about a pucker factor!!

This common muzzle and shutter door on our boats is connected through a safety device so that you cannot make the mistake... when the boat is in the water...of having the muzzle door and the breech door in side the torpedo room open at the same time. Believe it or not..this too has happened. Really bad news Deltaboy...really bad news.

What I would like to know is if the torpedo tubes are parallel to the centerline of the boat or slightly canted outward to clear the sonar dome. Either way will work with todays guided smart torpedos. No ..I dont think so because if you have them canted slightly outward you wouldnt need such an obviously long shutter door. Hmmmmm perhapsed this boat has a bigger torpedo compliment than I had thought!!??

These shutter doors look like they are hinged vertically at the front and just pivot inward the aft portion of the door till they clear the width of the muzzle door.

As I told Tonka in the bottom paragraphs of this post..

You had better know exactly what you are doing in a drydock when you need to work around a torpedo tube like this. You can get seriously hurt and or killed if you dont know what is happening.

If you look at the photo of the bottom of the boat taken from the bow looking slightly see that some of the ballast tank louvers are covered up with some kind of rubber. Some of the louvers or slots where water is taken in or blown out...are open/uncovered..not many of them.
In the centerline the hole or access seems to be larger than the others. I cannot tell if it is another ballast tank louver that has been removed or where an eject pump access door is located for taking in water for the firing of the torpedos.

A boat like this their primary job would be remaining undetected till tiime to fire their main weapons ICBMs. Their torpedo use would be pretty much defensive.

If you look carefully at the sonar dome from the same photo I just described you can see the black paint discoloration just foreward of the point where the torpedo door pivots on the foreward end. This is where the bow sonar dome is attached and faired in cleanly. You cannot tell this so easily from the photos taken from further away. It is only detectable here by the slight difference in the light and paint.

Their fairwater planes are really high up on the sail structure.

Smart move not to have any antennas up and visible in these photos. I dont even detect a snorkel mast.

If you look carefully in two of the photos of the length of the boat...there is a vertical like stabilizer fin on the end of the stern planes. Kind of like the tail rudders on a B25 mitchel bomber or like on a A10 Thunderbolt tank killer jet. Way back aft on two photos. You almost wouldnt notice it unless it is pointed out to you. It is so far back in the photos.

I cant be sure but I think that is a submergable type platform the boat is on and is in position to be let down into the water. I forget what they call them but it is not a drydock per se.

Very nice pictures. Thanks for this.


[edit on 26-3-2008 by orangetom1999]

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 08:38 AM
reply to post by orangetom1999

That conformal SONAR array down the length of this boat is huge! I guess maybe it was hydrodynamically preferable to fair several into one housing than individual fairings like recent US designs?

I'd be interested to see Le Terrible with the bow dome removed. Have you seen depictions of the Block III Virginia bows? Very interesting.

Regarding the additional "rudders" in the rear, this is similar to the Ohio class. Think it has something to do with the speeds/mission profiles of these boats?

Great looking boat. I'm a little surprised they so openly display the pump jet propulsor shroud.

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 08:47 AM
reply to post by oxillini

Yes the array down the side is very long. I was myself surprised by that at first.

I have not seen the depictions of the Block III Virginia bows. I do know that there are alot of upgrades and changes in the making. Computer designs, verses the older LA design method, helps to expedite this process.

Pump Jet propulsors are not new to the French. I believe they were using them long before us. But yes...I too am surprised by this.


posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 08:57 AM
reply to post by orangetom1999

Not to derail this thread too much, but here's the Block III Virginia. Two MAJOR changes. The sonar sphere is gone and the individual VLS tubes are six shooters a la SSGN. Couple that info with the knowledge that the USN is interested in other payloads that easily swap in/out of SSGN tubes and the future capabilities of these boats just grew substantially.

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 09:09 AM
This is what I could find about the Block III Virginia's via a quick search.

It seems the biggest changes are the switch from 12 separate VLS tubes to two big Ohio style missile tubes each with 6 missiles arranged inside. And the bow sonar on the Block III will use and I quote…

The other big change you can see in the above diagram is switching from an air-backed sonar sphere to a water-backed Large Aperture Bow (LAB) array. Eliminating the hundreds of SUBSAFE penetrations that help maintain required pressure in the air-backed sonar sphere.


The LAB Array has 2 primary components: the passive array, which will provide improved performance, and a medium-frequency active array. It utilizes transducers from the SSN-21 Seawolf Class that are that are designed to last the life of the hull. This is rather par for the course, as the Virginia Class’ was created in the 1990s to incorporate key elements of the $4 billion Seawolf Class submarine technologies into a cheaper boat.

The most impressive success was the “bow bundle”. Designers are dramatically simplifying the bow, working to replace the traditional sonar sphere with a hydrophone array and change the configuration for the Tomahawk cruise missile launchers mounted behind the sphere. Instead of 12 individual tubes, the design would include two six-missile magazines. Not only will it save more than $40 million per ship, it will increase the payload flexibility of the Virginia class.

The new missile tubes are based on the 7-foot diameter D-5 Trident ballistic missile tubes, with changes similar to those done in the four Ohio-class SSGN submarine conversions. The tubes, which will be newly manufactured and somewhat shorter than the Ohio tubes, each carry a Multiple All-Up-Round Canister (MAC) with six Tomahawks. Since the connectors and dimensions are the same as the Ohio SSGN tubes, new payloads designed for those ships will be compatible with the Block III and later Virginias. The new tubes nearly double the amount of payload space compared with the former VLS installation, going from 1,200 cubic feet to 2,300.

The new Large Aperture Bow (LAB) sonar array substitutes the sonar sphere active/passive transducers with a listening-only hydrophone system. Replacement of the water-backed LAB array for the air-backed sonar sphere will save about $11 million per sub. The LAB array features two primary components: the passive array - using hydrophone technology from the Seawolf SSN 21-class submarines - and a medium-frequency active array.

There are a total of about 25 redesign changes most have to do with construction and budget, making things easer and cheaper yet still effective.

[edit on 26-3-2008 by WestPoint23]

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 10:19 AM
reply to post by orangetom1999

Thanks orangetom for the informative presentation and observation of this boat.
Yeah I was thinking the same about the French having a new larger torpedoes if those shutter doors are of that size! And another thing was the Red October thing that brings up my memory where it looks like the torpedo tubes are just too large so it has to be something else sinister, maybe the Caterpillar Drive!!!

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 10:35 AM
reply to post by deltaboy

The Triomphant class (of which Le Terrible is the final boat) has 4 21-inch (533-mm) tubes. I couldn't locate anything on whether the tubes are parallel or canted, but I don't see the advantage of parallel tubes with modern torpedoes or missiles anyway as long as the cant isn't too severe.

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:17 AM

The Triomphant class (of which Le Terrible is the final boat) has 4 21-inch (533-mm) tubes. I couldn't locate anything on whether the tubes are parallel or canted, but I don't see the advantage of parallel tubes with modern torpedoes or missiles anyway as long as the cant isn't too severe.

Deltaboy, 533mm or 21 inchs is pretty much standard for torpedos in the western world.
I dont know if they developed it but there were plans for a 30 inch torpedo when a real big bang was needed. Remember now..torpedos at one time were 19 inchs. WW2 and that era. I have seen torpedo rooms set up to handle both types. The rollers on the handling equipment could manage both the 19 to the 21 inch problem. This I surmise was a tansition period in this knid of developnemt ..hence the ability to handle both. 30 inch would be a big one. Would require special handling equipment and proceedures.

The primary size to which I was refering is the length of the shutter door.
Why such a long door. The only thing I could come up with is that the tube is parallel to the centerline of the boat..instead of a slight outward angle.
By the way..the older boomers we built before the Ohio class had the torpedo tubes..four right through the center of the bow. They had a different sonar arrangetment in those boats. It was unusual at first. But then again...their torpedos too were mostly for defense. The objective was also remain undetected until they fired thier main weapons.

Then quote a cliche..."Youve come along way Baby!!" Refering here to sonar development. This is quite obvious and stark when looking at these excellent photos.

I cannot see any reason for such a long shutter door unless the tubes were not canted outward. To me that is just more surface to rattle and make noise. More surface to keep properly aligned and adjusted after disassembly and or maintenance. But I am sure they have thier reasons.

Musing to myself about the artists conceptions of the new arrangement for the Virginias based on the Ohio Class modifications....that has to be some kind of module they load into the two tubes. When only one is fired...the others must remain secure and dry in its section of the module. You would have to be able to ballast for only one fired....yet keep the others dry. Intresting design problem. Obviously someone has worked it out.


posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 09:04 AM
reply to post by orangetom1999

The Seawolf class has 762mm or 30 inch tubes. 8 of them.

As far as the VLS system on Block III Virginias, all the issues you're think of were worked out with the SSGN conversions. These are the same modules loaded in after the Tridents were removed. The lone difference is the modules are shorter to accommodate the size of the Virginia vs an Ohio. Think of each "Shot" in that six shooter as an individual missile tube with individual seals and closures. Only the outer missile tube door is common to all six. What gets interesting is when you factor in the R&D going on into what happens when you pull out a six shooter and drop in, say a SEAL team's gear, or a large UUV. Perhaps leave the six shooter in and load 3 Tomahawks, 1 Harpoon and 2 small UUVs for mine hunting. The flexibility and future upgradability is a huge bonus. Factor in that the R&D money spent on SSGN payloads can now be shared with Virginias and you have not only a very capable fast attack boat, but a very robust sub force. Can't get a SSGN on station rapidly enough to act on intelligence? What if a Virginia has most of the same load/capability? (not in quantity of course, but in capability)

Honestly, I think that multi round canister is sold as a cost savings but will prove to be a real benefit to fast attacks.

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:21 PM
Must make haste here before shoving off for the day.

Yes, I am aware of the Seawolf,s capabilities and was hesitant to mention it but that is alot of bang!!

Six Shooter....I like that name..or term..I am partial to wheel guns in my personal arsenal.

Yes I understand and agree in the concept of the great flexability this system offers to the Attack Boats as well as the SSGNs. I think it is a great idea. Also in cost savings. The VLS system is not an inexpensive system to install in a boat. Hence the hesitancy of many countrys to develop a similar system. Costs!!
I am wondering if, with this new capability, it will make this more advantageous...cost wise for our allies.
Also, along with the bow is alot of weight in the foreward end of a boat. Any simplification cannot but help.
You know Oxillini..since the advent of VLS systems both on Cruisers/FFGs and attack boats..this has made both of these vessles...much bigger players so to speak. A significant shift in doctrine and potential.
It has changed their roles significantly.

By the way ..I got to see a UUV awhile back and though it was an older development ...when you combine this with an awareness of what is offered in the remote controlled arena verses say twenty years ago...the strides/progress are significant and telling. This one had two small thrusters or propulsors on it..very sleek. What must the state of the art be today?? Dont answer that!!

Years ago I also got to see the Cuthroat Large Scale Vehicle when it was taken out of one of the sheds to be delivered to the testing range in Idaho.
I was floored when I realized the scale of what it was I was seeing.
I was also forced by awareness to ask how far have they come with this remote control stuff!!??
My sentiments are that this arena,UUVs, is going to be a big thing in the future. Remotely operated pilotless vehicles for all types and usages.

I also got to see the USS Jimmy Carter over here in drydock. We checked to see if we could take a tour of the boat. No way...not allowed.

That would have been a tour of a lifetime but I am certain they have their reasons.
They've got to have some of the coolest toys/gadgets on that boat...but not for this forum!!

I'd love to see the torpedo room set up on those boats. Eight tubes..four on each side...would require a pretty sophisticated torpedo room set up.

Gotta make haste,
Thanks for your post,

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:23 PM
that is one sexy boat. leave it to the French to build a sexy sub
I dont doubt the French can build a good boat, but the crew has to be just as good....we will see.....hope it does not end up a reef

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 01:49 PM
reply to post by orangetom1999

I've seen 21, 22 and 23 in drydock and did not tour any of the three. I have seen enough to know they're wonderfully designed and built boats.

posted on Jul, 24 2008 @ 03:55 PM
reply to post by oxillini

What gets interesting is when you factor in the R&D going on into what happens when you pull out a six shooter and drop in, say a SEAL team's gear, or a large UUV. Perhaps leave the six shooter in and load 3 Tomahawks, 1 Harpoon and 2 small UUVs for mine hunting. The flexibility and future upgradability is a huge bonus. Factor in that the R&D money spent on SSGN payloads can now be shared with Virginias and you have not only a very capable fast attack boat, but a very robust sub force.

This quotation from the Submarine of the Future document issued in 1998 by the Defense Science Board seems relevant:
"The Task Force suggests the follow-on to the NSSN be available in the 2020 time frame and that it be very different from the NSSN as currently designed. In particular, it should not have torpedo tubes, VLS tubes, or other weapon specific interfaces with the water. It should have a flexible interface which does not constrain the shape and size of weapons, auxiliary vehicles, and other payloads when they are used. We suggest using 'bomb bay' techniques or other large aperture openings, coupled with external storage of rapid-response weapons."

The full document is available from and in PDF format at The quotation above is on page 23 of the PDF file.

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