Home Europe France’s first Barracuda attack sub fires up nuclear reactor for first time

France’s first Barracuda attack sub fires up nuclear reactor for first time

Photo: Technicatome

The lead boat in a new class of French nuclear-powered attack submarine has started up her nuclear reactor in preparation for upcoming sea trials.

Suffren, as the first of six submarines is named, was launched in July this year and is now progressing towards delivery in 2020.

The reactor start-up was performed by the TechnicAtome and Naval Group teams on the Cherbourg site in accordance with the authorisations issued by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire – ASN) and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA).

“The start-up of the nuclear reactor on-board the Suffren submarine is a new demonstration of the know-how of the French nuclear industrial sector, with TechnicAtome and Naval Group in the forefront,” Hervé Guillou, chairman and chief executive officer of Naval Group, said. “This success gives the country an unequaled defense tool with a high degree of industrial autonomy benefiting the sovereignty of France.”

Launched in 1998 by DGA, the Barracuda program will replaced the Marine Nationale’s six Rubis type SSNs commissioned at the start of eighties.

The delivery of the new submarines will span one decade beginning in 2020. Their lifespan will be over 35 years.

Crewed by 90 sailors, Suffren-class submarines will carry the next-generation type F21 heavyweight torpedoes, SM39 anti-ship missiles and MdCN-type naval cruise missiles. The boats will also be fully equipped for missions with NATO naval forces and special operations. Compared to their predecessors, they will be able to spend almost twice as many days at sea before being forced to resupply.