First Barracuda-Class Submarine Launched for France


Published Jul 13, 2019 4:01 AM by The Maritime Executive

Naval Group has launched Suffren, the first of six nuclear submarines for the French Navy. The 99-meter (325 foot) black steel submarine was launched at a ceremony in the northern port of Cherbourg. Suffren is the first of the Barracuda-class series, designed to replace the Rubis-class generation. 

Naval Group is the overall prime contractor of the ship’s architecture and TechnicAtome is the prime contractor for the nuclear reactor. 

Suffren is one of the stealthiest submarines over the world. This, combined with her advanced detection capabilities, guarantees acoustic superiority, says Naval Group.

For the first time, thanks to the Barracuda-class submarines, the French Navy will have a deep strike capability using cruise missiles. The submarine features a divers' hatch for the deployment of special forces underwater and the optional carrying of a dry deck shelter allowing for the deployment of underwater vehicles.

Suffren is expected to start sea trials later this month and arrive in Toulon, her home port, before the summer of 2020.

An order for a sixth Barracuda-class submarine was formally announced at Suffren's launching ceremony. The names of the other five submarines will be: Duguay Trouin, Tourville, De Grasse, Rubis and Casabianca. The first four submarines will be delivered by 2025 and will gradually replace the Navy's existing submarines. 

Technical characteristics of the Barracuda-class submarines:

Surface displacement: 4,700 tonnes
Diving displacement: 5,300 tonnes
Length: 99 meters
Diameter: 8.8 meters
Armament: naval cruise missiles, F21 heavy-weight wire-guided torpedoes, modernized Exocet SM39 anti-ship missiles
Hybrid propulsion: pressurized water reactor derived from the reactors on board the Triomphant-type SSBN and Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, two propulsion turbines, two turbo generators and two electric motors
Crew: 65 crew members + commandos
Availability: > 270 days per year