After over twenty years of development, the French Navy has taken delivery of the first of a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines.
FS Suffren officially became a navy vessel on November 6 after over a year of trials. The boat was launched in July 2019 and took to the sea in April 2020.
During its evaluation phase, Suffren tested a range of new systems and became the first French submarine to fire the MdCN ground attack cruise missile.
Launched in 1998 by DGA, the Barracuda program will replace 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.
The second boat in the class, the Duguay-Trouin, is scheduled for delivery in 2022. The third boat, which will be named Tourville, is in the integration phase.
“What a long way Naval Group has come with its industrial and governmental partners since the first metal sheet was cut on December 10, 2007, less than a year after the DGA had signed the acquisition contract,” Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO Naval Group, commented.
“The industrial challenges have been numerous. I salute the commitment of Naval Group’s design and production teams, of TechnicAtome – the prime contractor for the onboard nuclear boiler room – as well as those of the DGA, the CEA and the French Navy.”