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Tête nucléaire océanique (TNO or oceanic nuclear warhead) is a French thermonuclear warhead intended for use on the M 51 submarine-launched ballistic missile, that is being developed and built by the Division of Military Applications (DAM) at France's Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (English: Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission).[1] It will be carried on Triomphant-class submarines.[1][2] The TNO is intended to replace the currently deployed TN 75 warhead.[3] Its commissioning is planned for 2015, when France's newest submarines, either Le Terrible or Le Vigilant, will be one of the first to carry the warhead.[3][4]


The TNO has a yield that is estimated to be greater than or equal to the yield of the TN 75 warhead, 150 kilotons of TNT (kt).[5] The warhead's charge is called "robust":[6] less optimized than the TN 75 but with an improved reliability and life-span. Development of the technology in the warhead has benefited from the final series of French nuclear tests conducted in 1995-1996 in Moruroa, French Polynesia. The warhead's design and functionality were ultimately validated through simulation,[7] particularly with DAM's Tera 100 supercomputer, Megajoule laser, and radiographic equipment.[8] Production of the TNO is estimated to be complete, although it is not yet in France's operational stockpile of nuclear weapons.[3]

Re-entry vehicle

The re-entry vehicle of the TNO is composed of a conical outer envelope with high performance thermal protection. It has been optimized for performance with the M 51 missile and enables precision on very long range atmospheric reentry trajectories. It also features advanced stealth.

Classification of related data

The information presented in this article can only be indicative because underlying data is classified by the French government.[9]

See also


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  1. 1.0 1.1 Boulaud, Didier (12 July 2012). "L'avenir des forces nucléaires françaises". Sénat de France. Retrieved 11 April 2013. (French)
  2. Pillet, Nicolas (28 janvier 2010). "Le Terrible a tiré avec succès un M-51 !". Retrieved 6 novembre 2011. (French)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Kristensen, Hans. "France". Assuring Destruction Forever: Nuclear Weapon Modernization Around the World. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  4. Reif, Kingston (8 December 2009). "Nuclear weapons: The modernization myth". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  5. "IA M51:Chape de plomb sur le nucléaire". Mer et Marine. 2 October 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2013. (French)
  6. Kearns, Ian (November 2011) (PDF). Beyond the United Kingdom: Trends in the Other Nuclear Armed States. British American Security Information Council (BASIC). Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  7. Pintat, Xavier; Daniel Reiner (18 November 2010). "Projet de loi de finances pour 2011 : Défense - Equipement des forces". Sénat de France. Retrieved 11 April 2013. (French)
  8. Volant, Emmanuelle (July 2012). "Dossier de presse - Le Laser Mégajoule". CEA/DAM. Retrieved 11 April 2013. (French)
  9. Rapport d'information sur l'avenir des forces nucléaires françaises No. 668 du 12 juillet 2012 (Information Report on the future of French nuclear forces, No. 668 of 12 July 2012)(French)

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