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SSBS and MSBS

Sol-Sol Balistique Strategique and Mer-Sol Balistique Strategique


After an evaluation of liquid and solid propulsion options for the Strategic Ballistic Missiles, SEREB decided to retain the second solution in 1961. First projects were based on a payload weight of 700 kg. SSBS, launched from the ground, was to have a range of about 3000 km with two stages loaded with 10 t and 6.6 t of Isolane propellant. MSBS, launched from submarines, was to have a range of about 2500 km with two stages loaded with 9 t and 4 t of Isolane propellant. The motor's structural weight being higher and Isolane specific impulse being lower than expected, these configurations were changed in 1962: SSBS became a P10-P10 and MSBS a P10-P4. This approach required the development of two motors only, the heavier of them in three versions.

S112 S112

First Generation Strategic Ballistic Missiles

The first ground test of a 1500 mm diameter free grain took place in June 1962, then, in May 1963, 4-nozzle 1500 mm motors ground tests began. The first P10 flight version, named 901, was ground tested in December 1964 and flight-tested in October 1965. Manufactured by Nord Aviation, it used a welded maraging steel case and with steering by means of four swiveling nozzles, electro-hydraulically actuated.
However, in 1963-64, it became apparent that the missile's RV would be heavier than the expected 700 kg. The aim of reaching 3000 km range required an enlarged 1st stage for the SSBS. In December 1965, the development of a new motor - named 902 - loaded with 16 t of propellant was decided. The SSBS upper stage was then named 903 and the MSBS first stage was named 904. Meanwhile an organization change occurred: Nord Aviation responsible for 901 and 902 and SNECMA responsible for 903 and 904 merged their strategic missiles activities in a new company named NORMA.
Actually, the P10/901 motor was only used during the initial development phase of both SSBS and MSBS flight-test programs. Two single-stage S112 vehicles - with dummy upper stage - were unsuccessfully launched from CIEES in October and November 1965, then the flight program continued from a silo in the new CEL range on the French southwest coast. Five additional S112 launches, including two other failures, took place between February 1966 and March 1967.
The first 2-stage vehicle, S01, was launched in July 1967. Its P10/903 second stage motor was rather similar to the 901 but its case was made of flow formed Vascojet 1000 steel. The main difference was the pyrotechnically activated Thrust Termination Device (DAP) that allowed control of the missile range. The 903 motor was capable of delivering a thrust of about 450 kN during 50 seconds. Eight S01 were launched until November 1968.
Ground tests of the P16/902 motor began in August 1967 and flight tests with S02 vehicles in December 1968. Like its predecessor, it used a welded maraging steel case and was steered by means of swiveling nozzles. It delivered a mean thrust of about 500 kN during 76 seconds. Twelve S02 were launched until March 1973. The first SSBS-S2 Plateau d'Albion operational unit with 9 missiles was put into service on 2 August 1971, the second on 23 April 1972. The first SSBS operational evaluation launch occurred on 16 December 1971 from the CEL range.

M112 M112

As with SSBS, the first MSBS test flights occurred from CIEES. Two M112 vehicles consisting of a P10/901 motor and a dummy 2nd stage were launched in May and June 1966. The flight test program continued from the CERES range. Three M112 were launched from a submarine container (Nemo) between July 1966 and March 1967, then four from a test submarine (Gymnote) between April and July 1967.
The definitive P10/904 motor was to have increased margins to take into account underwater ignition and water exit. Like the 903 its case was made of flow formed Vascojet 1000 steel, but without DAP it was slightly shortened. It delivered a mean thrust of about 420 kN during 55 seconds. Two M011 vehicles consisting of a P10/904 motor and a dummy 2nd stage were launched in December 1967 and January 1968 from the Nemo container.
MSBS was to be equipped with a high performance filament wound glass epoxy cased motor manufactured by Sud Aviation. Named RITA, it was loaded with 4 tons of Isolane and delivered a mean thrust of about 180 kN during 55 seconds. Its thrust vector control system was based on freon injection in the nozzle, and its thrust termination on the pyrotechnic opening of 6 exhaust ports. Ground tests of the P4/RITA motor began in October 1965 and flight tests with M012 vehicles followed in January 1968. Two M012A with a 901 1st stage were launched in January and April 1968, then two M012B with a 904 1st stage in July 1968, all from the ground at the CEL range.
The final phase of MSBS development was carried out with fifteen M013 vehicles launched between November 1968 and May 1971 from the Gymnote: seven for testing the vehicle and eight for testing the payload. The first MSBS launch in operational configuration occurred on 29 May 1971 from the first French SNLE, le Redoutable.

Second version

The increasing presence of potentially hostile submarines in the SNLE's patrol zones led to the need of enlarging these zones and therefore their missile range. The decision of developing a new version of MSBS, named M2, by increasing the second stage performance was taken in 1968. Whereas the development of the M2 was already in progress, it was decided in 1970 to equip the MSBS with a thermonuclear warhead and penetration aids. This new version of the missile, named M20, was based on the same vehicle, the fairing having precisely the same shape as that of the M1 nosecone. M20 was to soon replace the M2 missile.
The new stage, RITA 2, contained 6 tons of propellant (50% mass increase) by increasing slightly the overall length (3.0 m instead of 2.5 m) and using a submerged nozzle. Thrust vector control and thrust termination system were the same. RITA 2 was capable of developing a mean thrust of about 280 kN during 60 seconds.
Ground tests of RITA 2 began in May 1970. After a series of mockup tests, the first M02 test launch occurred in July 1973. Six developmental M02 were launched from the CEL until May 1974. Ten M020 test vehicles were then launched from the CEL between June 1974 and June 1977. In addition, three "synthesis launches" were achieved from the Gymnote: an M2 in October 1974 and two M20 in July 1975 (failure) and December 1976. The first M2 launch from an SNLE took place in February 1976 (Le Redoutable), followed in April by the first M20 (L'Indomptable).

From 1972, research on ways for equipping the SSBS with thermonuclear warhead, penaids, hardening the missile and its launch base, were undertaken. This research showed that replacing the 903 by the newly developed RITA 2 as the second stage led to a lighter and shorter missile with a range increase of about 500 km. This improved version, able to use the Plateau d'Albion silos, was named S3.
Eight developmental S03 were launched between December 1976 and March 1979. The first SSBS-S3 operational unit was put into service on 1 June 1980, the second on 31 December 1982. The Plateau d'Albion silos have been deactivated since August 1998.

Tables
a/ Ballistic Missiles evolution
b/ SSBS launch log
c/ MSBS launch log (Ø1500)



a/ Ballistic Missiles evolution
SSBS-MSBS
From left to right : S2, S3, M1, M2/M20
Scale in meters

NameWeight (t)Length (m)Range (km)
S231.914.8> 3000
S328.513.8> 3500
M118.010.4> 2500
M2/M2020.010.7> 3000
SSBS and MSBS main characteristics

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b/ SSBS launch log

Test launches
DateSiteVehicleMission
23 Oct 1965HMGS-112 N°1single-stage, dummy 2nd stage
03 Nov 1965HMGS-112 N°2id.
15 Feb 1966BISS-112 N°3id.
07 Jun 1966BISS-112 N°4id.
30 Jun 1966BISS-112 N°5id.
10 Nov 1966BISS-112 N°6id.
02 Mar 1967BISS-112 N°7id.
25 Jul 1967BISS-01 V12-stage P10/P10
10 Nov 1967BISS-01 V2id.
23 Jan 1968BISS-01 V3id.
09 Apr 1968BISS-01 V4id.
03 Jul 1968BISS-01 V5id.
26 Jul 1968BISS-01 V6id.
08 Oct 1968BISS-01 C1id.
09 Nov 1968BISS-01 C2id.
21 Dec 1968BISS-02 V12-stage P16/P10
23 Apr 1969BISS-02 V2id.
30 May 1969BISS-02 V3id.
24 Jun 1969BISS-02 V4id.
25 Jul 1969BISS-02 C1id.
13 Oct 1969BISS-02 C2id.
10 Dec 1969BISS-02 C3id.
20 Apr 1970BISS-02 C4id.
24 Sep 1970BISS-02 C5id.
10 Nov 1970BISS-02 C6id.
14 Feb 1973BISS N°1 S-2Test
15 Mar 1973BISS N°2 S-2Test
03 Dec 1976BISS-03 V12-stage P16/P6
14 Apr 1977BISS-03 V2id.
30 Jun 1977BISS-03 V3id.
19 Nov 1977BISS-03 V4id.
05 Apr 1978BISS-03 V5id.
20 Jun 1978BISS-03 V6id.
02 Dec 1978BISS-03 V7id.
20 Mar 1979BISS-03 V8id.
16 Jul 1979BISS-3E TS N°1S-3 Qualification

Training launches
DateSiteVehicleMission
16 Dec 1971BISS-2 E1S-2 Operational valuation
18 Sep 1973BISS-2 E2id.
30 Jan 1974BISS-2 E3id.
18 Jun 1974BISS-2 E4id.
24 Jun 1975BISS-2 E5id.
01 Jun 1976BISS-2 E6id.
16 Mar 1977BISS-2 E7id.
10 Dec 1980BISS-3 E1S-3 Operational valuation
03 Jun 1981BISS-3 E2id.
25 May 1982BISS-3 E3id.
04 Oct 1983BISS-3 E4id.
26 Jun 1984BISS-3 E5id.
25 Jun 1985BISS-3 E6id.
10 Feb 1986BISS-3 E7id.
10 Jun 1987BISS-3 E8id.
18 Jun 1989BISS-3 E9id.
24 Jun 1991BISS-3 E10id.
03 Nov 1993BISS-3 E11id.
Notes: HMG = Hammaguir; BIS = Biscarosse

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c/ MSBS launch log (Ø1500)

Test launches
DateSiteVehicleMission
26 May 1966HMGM-112 N°1901 single-stage, dummy 2nd stage
04 Jun 1966HMGM-112 N°2id.
12 Jul 1966IDL/nM-112 N°3id., launch from Nemo submarine container
04 Feb 1967IDL/nM-112 N°4id.
01 Mar 1967IDL/nM-112 N°5id.
19 Apr 1967Gym/MM-112 N°6id., launch from Gymnote test submarine
18 May 1967Gym/MM-112 N°7id.
13 Jun 1967Gym/MM-112 N°8id.
06 Jul 1967Gym/MM-112 N°9id.
05 Dec 1967IDL/nM-011 N°1904 single-stage, dummy 2nd stage
13 Jan 1968BISM-012A N°12-stage, 901/RITA, SSBS-type RV
16 Jan 1968IDL/nM-011 N°2904 single-stage, dummy 2nd stage
03 Apr 1968BISM-012A N°22-stage, 901/RITA, SSBS-type RV
02 Jul 1968BISM-012B N°12-stage, 904/RITA, MSBS-type RV
25 Jul 1968BISM-012B N°22-stage, 904/RITA, MSBS-type RV
16 Nov 1968Gym/AM-013 V12-stage, 904/RITA with guidance
13 Dec 1968Gym/AM-013 V2id.
27 Mar 1969Gym/AM-013 V3id.
30 Apr 1969Gym/AM-013 V4id.
18 Jul 1969Gym/AM-013 V5id.
25 Sep 1969Gym/AM-013 V6id.
15 Oct 1969Gym/AM-013 V7id.
11 Jun 1970Gym/AM-013 C1id., RV test
17 Jun 1970Gym/AM-013 C2id.
15 Oct 1970Gym/AM-013 C3id.
16 Nov 1970Gym/AM-013 C4id.
04 Mar 1971Gym/AM-013 C5id.
10 Mar 1971Gym/AM-013 C6id.
03 Apr 1971Gym/AM-013 C7id.
05 May 1971Gym/AM-013 C8id.
20 Jul 1973BISM-02 V12-stage, 904/RITA 2
20 Sep 1973BISM-02 V2id.
18 Oct 1973Gym/AM-1 E6Test after M-1 E4 failure
22 Nov 1973BISM-02 V32-stage, 904/RITA 2
12 Dec 1973BISM-02 V4id.
23 Feb 1974BISM-02 V5id.
03 May 1974BISM-02 V6id.
12 Jun 1974BISM-020 V1id., first M-20
04 Oct 1974BISM-020 V2id.
25 Oct 1974Gym/AM-02 id., Synthesis flight
20 Nov 1974BISM-020 V3id.
28 Feb 1975BISM-020 V4id.
08 Apr 1975BISM-020 V5id.
20 Jun 1975BISM-020 V6id.
09 Jul 1975Gym/AM-20 VX1id., Synthesis flight
16 Jul 1975BISM-020 V7id.
21 Nov 1975BISM-020 V8id.
09 Nov 1975BISM-020 V9id.
09 Dec 1976Gym/AM-20 VX2id., Synthesis flight
27 Jun 1977BISM-020 V10id.

M-4/M-45 Test vehicles
DateSiteVehicleMission
09 May 1977BISM-20 EBE1EBE
?? ??? 1977BISM-20 EBE2EBE
18 Dec 1978BISM-20 EBE3EBE
10 Apr 1979BISM-20 EBR1EBR
10 Jul 1979BISM-20 EBR2EBR
27 Jun 1989BISM-20 EBAP1EBAP
?? ??? 1990BISM-20 EBAP2EBAP
?? ??? 1990BISM-20 EBAP3EBAP
04 Mar 1991BISM-20 EBAP4EBAP

Training launches
DateSiteVehicleMission
29 May 1971RedM-1 E1M-1 Operational valuation
26 Jun 1971RedM-1 E2id.
06 Dec 1971TerM-1 E3id.
14 Dec 1972TerM-1 E4id.
15 Dec 1972TerM-1 E5id.
18 Oct 1973GymM-1 E6id.
26 Mar 1974FouM-1 E7id., last M-1
12 Feb 1976RedM-2 E1M-2 Operational valuation
07 Apr 1976IndM-20 E1M-20 Operational valuation
08 Nov 1977TerM-20 E?id.
?? ??? 197? M-20 E?id.
?? ??? 197? M-20 E?id.
11 Feb 1981RedM-20 E5id.
20 Feb 1981RedM-20 E?id.
?? ??? 198? M-20 E?id.
?? ??? 198? M-20 E?id.
?? ??? 198? M-20 E?id.
04 Sep 1986RedM-20 E?id.
09 Dec 1987 M-20 E11id., last M-20
Notes: HMG = Hammaguir; BIS = Biscarosse
Gym/M = Gymnote/Mediterranean Sea; Gym/A = Gymnote/Atlantic Ocean


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