Naval Group begins construction of first French Navy’s SNLE 3G


The steel cutting of the first third-generation French SSBN took place at Naval Group’s shipyard in Cherbourg on March 20.

Naval Group

Launched in February 2021, the SNLE 3G program for the French Navy brings together the armed forces, the French defense procurement agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement – DGA), which is responsible for overall project management, the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), for the nuclear boilers, and Naval Group, which is responsible for overall project management of the submarines, in association with TechnicAtome for the nuclear boilers.

Naval Group

Compared with their predecessors, the 3G SSBNs will feature a number of major technological advances, which will provide the French Navy with superior operational capabilities. According to Naval Group, these submarines will be:

  • extremely discreet;
  • featuring extended detection capability, with sensors of the highest technological standard;
  • featuring enhanced stealth, including improved hydrodynamics and increased maneuverability;
  • equipped with high-performance weapons and combat system, able to carry out deterrence missions until the end of the 2080s;
  • capable of ensuring the highest levels of nuclear safety and security
  • adapted to the latest standards of living conditions for sailors on board, thanks in particular to a new plant for reprocessing the ship’s atmosphere.

The program’s first follow-on contract awarded in February 2021 covers development studies up to the end of 2025, as well as long lead time procurement, production of the first hull and boiler room components for the first 3G SSBN, and adaptation of Naval Group’s manufacturing resources to the specific requirements of the 3G SSBNs.

Production of the main components of the nuclear boiler room and propulsion system, in particular the tank for the 1st SNLE 3G, has already begun at Naval Group’s Nantes-Indret site.

Naval Group

We are proud to symbolically launch the production of the hull of the first 3rd-generation SSBN today, alongside the DGA, the French Navy, the Atomic Energy Commission and Technicatome, as well as all our state and industrial partners. Through this major program, Naval Group is fully committed to serving French sovereignty and nuclear deterrence, by mobilizing all its skills, talents and industrial resources, and by drawing on a solid defense industrial and technological base, spread across the country,” Pierre Éric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group, said.

In addition, the current French SSBNs (SNLE 2G) will benefit from some of these innovations, without waiting for the arrival of the four 3G SSBNs, to ensure the best possible performance throughout their operational life up to the 2050s. This modernization will benefit the entire French SSBN fleet.