France’s new nuclear-powered attack submarine Suffren [fr]
The first nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) of the Barracuda program was officially introduced Friday, July 12, 2019 in Cherbourg by the President of the French Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, during a ceremony, in presence of Mrs. Florence Parly, French Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Linda Reynolds, Australian Minister for Defence and Mr. Steve Marshall, Premier of South Australia.
The Suffren, named after Pierre André de Suffren, vice-admiral of the French Royal Navy of the 18th century, is the first in a series of six SSN from the Barracuda program. It will be serving in the French Navy for the next 40 years. The Suffren class, scheduled under the Military Planning Law for 2019-2025, aims to replace the six Rubis-class submarines that entered service in the 1980s, and will offer hitherto unrivaled combat and detection capabilities.
Mrs. Florence Parly declared that this SNA, a 99m long vessel, will be « faster », « more discreet » and « more environmentally-friendly ». The Suffren also provides for the arrangement of living spaces now allowing female staff on board.
« Today, we are celebrating an industrial success, » declared Hervé Guillou, CEO of Naval Group, the lead architect and in charge of the ship and its combat system. Naval Group built the ship with TechnicAtome (formerly Areva), which developed the nuclear reactor.
For twelve years, more than 10,000 people and 800 companies have participated in the construction of the Suffren, which, together with the remaining submarines of the Barracuda program, will guarantee the superiority of French conventional submarine warfare assets.
The President of the French Republic congratulated Naval Group employees: « It’s not just submarines you build here, he stated. What you are building is the independence of France, our sovereignty, our freedom of action, our very status as a great power. »
The Suffren will be in service by the end of 2020 in the French Navy after a series of tests at sea. Other ships of the same class, the Duguay-Trouin, the Tourville and De-Grasse, will be delivered by 2025, these will then be joined by the last two SSN of the Barracuda program, Casabianca and Rubis, by 2029.
The Barracuda family will expand with the Attack class, selected by the Royal Australian Navy as part of an order of twelve submarines. The framework agreement governing the execution of the program for the next fifty years was signed on February 11, 2019 in Canberra in the presence of Mrs. Florence Parly and Mr. Christopher Pyne, then Minister for Defence.
Mrs. Linda Reynolds, who attended the ceremony alongside the President, said she was honoured to attend the launch of the Suffren and declared that Australia’s « submarine partnership with Naval Group is going from strengh to strength ».