Future FS Suffren, the first of six next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarines to be built for the Marine Nationale, has taken to sea for the first time.
The milestone comes after the boat fired up her nuclear reactor for the first time in December 2019, and ten months after it was launched at Naval Group’s Cherbourg yard in July 2019.
The first “dive” was announced by French defense minister Florence Parly, who took the opportunity to thank everyone involved for the important milestone ahead of the boat’s delivery that is scheduled for later this year.
Launched in 1998 by the French defense procurement agency DGA, the Barracuda program will replace the Marine Nationale’s six Rubis type SSNs commissioned at the start of 1980s.
The delivery of the new submarines will span one decade beginning in 2020. The lifespan of the boats themselves 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 return to port to resupply.