Missile propulsion

Herakles est responsable de la production des propulseurs du missile M51 qui se substitue progressivement depuis 2010, au missile M45 en service dans les forces françaises de dissuasion et prépare les évolutions futures.

For more than 50 years now, missile propulsion has been a center of excellence at Safran. ArianeGroup now contributes to the development, production and support of solid rocket motors on the two main types of ballistic missiles: strategic (deterrent forces) and tactical (more operational, "theater" weapons).

A ballistic missile is a projectile, unpowered during part of its flight, when it is governed solely by gravity and air resistance (drag). This ballistic phase is proceeded by a boost phase, using a propulsion system that allows the missile to reach its target.

ArianeGroup is in charge of producing the solid rocket motors on the M51, the strategic ballistic missile in France's nuclear deterrent force. An MSBS, or submarine-launched ballistic strategic missile, the M51 was deployed on France's missile-launching nuclear submarines starting in 2010. It carries multiple nuclear warheads, and is gradually replacing the older-generation M45.

In the tactical missile field, Safran provides propulsion systems for the European leader, MBDA Missile Systems, in particular: Mistral very-short-range surface-to-air; Scalp long-range air-to-ground missile and derivative Storm Shadow. 

Tactical and ballistic missile

Anciennement  CAEPE,  la Direction Générale de l’Armement Essais Missiles, a remis en 2012 les clefs de son industrie à Herakles, lui permettant ainsi d’affirmer son statut de leader de la propulsion industrie. 
Herakles se voit alors confier la responsabilité d’exploitation des zones A (qui regroupe les activités avant chargement) et B (l’assemblage final propulseur) du site de Candale qui s’étend sur plus de 110 hectares.

Safran also applies its technological expertise in this sector through Roxel, an equal joint venture with MBDA. Safran designs, develops and manufactures solid propulsion systems for a wide range of tactical and cruise missiles, deployed by air forces, navies and armies: Milan (light antitank), MICA (air defense), AASM (modular air-to-ground), MdCN (shipborne cruise).

Working for the American defense and electronics company Raytheon, Safran is also involved in U.S. missile defense systems, designed to detect and destroy enemy ballistic missiles. We provide several key components for the shipborne SM-3 interceptors.

ArianeGroup also provides related components, including nozzle parts, jet deflectors, hot gas valves, etc.

Reflecting our proactive innovation policy, we are also deploying new missile propulsion technologies for future upgrades. These projects, conducted alone or in partnership, concern several areas: solid rocket motor (SRM) cases; nozzles; propellants; SRM architectures… and more!


ArianeGroup (missile propulsion): Offering unrivaled experience and expertise, the company is one of the world's leading solid rocket propulsion companies. It controls all steps in the production of missile motors, from preliminary design, development and production, to storage, transport and dismantling at end of life.

Safran Power Units (turbojet engines for missiles and target drones): European leader, Safran Power Units is expert from over 50 years in the design, development, manufacturing and support of jet engines specifically suitable for applications such as missiles, target drones, UAVs et UCAVs.

Press releases
Hit enter to search or ESC to close