Within weeks of being elected President Emmanuel Macron was being lowered onto a French Navy ballistic missile submarine ‘Le Terrible’ of the coast of Brittany. Its reported he was present on the vessel when it dived and simulated a missile launch. Macron ‘a la’ Trump also made sure his perilous descent had an airing on his twitter feed (see pic). This man is more a ‘showman’ than a Statesman
There is much focus these days on keeping rogue states like Iran and North Korea under control and curbing their nuclear weapons ambitions but ‘the old nuclear club of Nation States’ shows no desire to trim its own sails.
Indeed it could be argued that Macron who is currently – much to the chagrin of Theresa May – Donald Trump’s new best friend wants to get ahead of the curve and create something of a splash on the nuclear weapons front.
French arms manufacturer Thales has just been granted a contract for the design stage of the new third generation (SNLE 3G) of French ballistic missile submarines scheduled to enter service in 2035 costs will be in the region of at least Éuro 60/70bn for a class of 3 or 4 submarines
Meanwhile the new class of Attack (or hunter-killer) nuclear submarines the Barracuda or Suffren class is well in hand. The SSNs cost Éuro 9.9bn with the first of six planned due to be commissioned this year (link):
French nuclear ambitions of course mean that the military complex that France has established in Brittany and the bases there will remain vital.
However as in the UK at times of cuts in health provision and social services many in both the UK and France are asking if the billions being spent on these ‘war toys’ is money well spent and how long can both the UK and France maintain the facade that they can match the Russian Federation and the United States in ‘the nuclear weapons club’.
Supporters in both the UK and France say that it’s vital the two countries maintain an independent deterrent to meet the threat over the coming decades.
However the biggest nuclear threat both countries faced in recent years was in 2009 when the French ballistic submarine Le Triomphant collided with the UK ballistic submarine HMS Vanguard. Yes – all those thousands of square miles of ocean and they managed to ‘prang’ each other. It strikes me it’s not just North Korea and Iran we need to worry about!
Image: Macron drops in on the French nuclear deterrent an expensive pic for your twitter feed!
pp Celtic League Military Monitoring
May 11th 2018