Home Europe First of France’s next-gen nuclear-powered attack submarines enters service

First of France’s next-gen nuclear-powered attack submarines enters service

Barracuda-class submarine FS Suffren
FS Suffren during sea trials; French defense ministry photo

The French Navy has commissioned its lead Barracuda-class submarine – FS Suffren – in a ceremony in Brest, in northwestern France.

The submarine was commissioned on June 3, some three years after it was launched and a little over two years after it started first sea trials.

FS Suffren’s commissioning is the result of a twenty-year effort under the Barracuda program to develop a new class of French Navy nuclear-powered attack submarines that will replace the six Rubis type SSNs that entered service in the early 1980s.

As part of its evaluation and trials phase, Suffren tested a range of new systems and became the first French submarine to fire the MdCN ground attack cruise missile.

French defense ministry file phot of FS Suffren

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.

With a surface displacement of 4,600 tons and a length of 99 meters, the boats will be capable of diving to depths greater than 300 meters. 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, was launched in November 2021 and is expected to be delivered to the navy in 2022.

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

“This particularly symbolic milestone encourages us collectively to deliver the next units of the program by the end of the decade,” Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet said commenting on the commissioning milestone.