29 March 1967: 50 years ago, Le Redoutable, first French SSBN to ensure the permanence of nuclear deterrence, was launched in the presence of General de Gaulle in France, single autonomous nuclear military power in Europe. Nuclear deterrence is designed to protect people against any aggression of state origin against our vital interests, wherever it may come from and whatever form it may take. Strictly defensive, its use is conceivable only in extreme circumstances of self-defense.
Following the Second World War, France, wants to make nuclear the keystone of the energy and strategic independence of the country. In 1958, the French military nuclear program was formalized by General de Gaulle. By mastering this technology France ensures a place alongside the American and Soviet superpowers. In the 1960s, it was decided to equip the navy with a nuclear launching submarine. On March 29, 1967, Le Redoutable was launched ..
A step is taken. But that activity still to be deployed before the presentation to the tests planned for 1969! The outer shells and thick shells are finished, but the access chambers, flaps of the torpedo tubes, the hydroreactors intended to stabilize the SNLE during the firing of the missiles must be mounted and the breach of the machined reactor compartment.
The gateway, the platforms and the incorporated boxes are installed at 90%. But the partitions are installed only 70% and the carlingages, the crossings of hull, the definitive ballasting to 35%. As for the sailing shelter with its ailerons, too high, it can not be mounted before the launch. For the propulsion, tank, exchangers and pressurizers were embarked, the primary circuit was tried, but clutch, turbo-reducer group, condensers and cradles of the turbo-generator group are being lineed. The main cable layers have been fitted, but the circuit-breaker cabinets are just embedded.
This launch seems modest at a time when the US nuclear submarine fleet is hosting its 41st SSBN and the Soviet fleet already has twenty such units. But with the completion in May of the construction of the Pierrelatte isotope separation plant, which is essential for the enriched uranium of the reactors, and the continuation of the experiments to reach the H-bomb, a major step is taken. "An additional and costly illustration of a ruinous, dangerous and inefficient military policy", according to L'Humanité, or "a capital day for our navy, our defense and, hence, our independence", according to General Le Redoutable does not leave indifferent.