Suffren class will serve as the backbone of the French submarine force into the 2060s.
The Suffren nuclear attack submarine has been delivered
November 2020 marks an important milestone for the French Navy. According to Naval Group, they have delivered the Suffren nuclear attack submarine to the French Armament Procurement Agency at the Toulon naval base. Suffren is the first in a series of six submarines that will gradually replace the Rubis-class submarines.
Suffren will be the lead ship of her class. In the near future, the Suffren class will serve as the backbone of the French submarine force into the 2060s. Suffren class, also known as the Barracuda program. Construction began in 2007. Suffren is expected to enter full operational service in 2021, after testing by the Marine Nationale.
The Barracuda program costs around 9 billion euros. As scheduled, three more will be completed by 2025, the other 2 – by 2029.
Unlike previous French submarines, Suffren is not equipped with a periscope, but rather an optronic mast, which allows for much longer range and outside visible spectrum detection of targets.
A first for the French Navy is the ability to deploy a small underwater vehicle for special forces use thanks to a dry deck shelter. Previously special forces used torpedo tubes and handheld propulsion systems.
The ship also has the ability to use the MdCN ground attack cruise missile in its submarine borne version, launched via torpedo tube.
It is said to be ten times quieter than the previous generation Rubis-class nuclear attack submarine.
Suffren has a displacement of 4,765 tons when surfaced and 5,300 tons when submerged. The French submarine has a length of 99.5m (326 ft 5 in), the beam is 8.8m (28 ft 10 in), and the draft is 7.3m (23 ft 11 in).
Thanks to advanced technology and better automation, the number of crew members will be reduced by 10-15 people compared to the current French Rubis class submarines. This combined larger hull and smaller crew compared to the Rubis class makes this ship the first French submarine to be designed to allow women on board. It has very spacious separate living quarters for men and women.
In support of special operations missions, Barracudas may also accommodate up to 15 commandos, while carrying their equipment in a mobile pod attached aft of the sail.
Suffren submarine is equipped with a K15 Nuclear reactor, generating 150 MW. The technology is being used on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier and Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarines, including pump-jet propulsion.
The submarine is considered to be 10 times quieter than the Rubis-class submarine, and does not generate bubbles like using propellers.
Suffren can reach a top speed of 25 knots when submerged and 14 knots when surfaced.
Suffren will be fitted with torpedo-tube-launched cruise missiles MDCN SCALP Naval for long-range strikes against strategic land targets. Next is the short-range anti-ship cruise missile Exocet SM39, with a range of 70km.
There is also the F21 Artemis heavy torpedo with a range of 50km and a swimming speed of 93km/h, which is considered to have the highest hit performance in the world.
Their missions will include anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, land attack, intelligence gathering, crisis management and special operations.
French media praised this as the “gem of technology”. Barracuda is also considered by experts to be one of the most advanced and dangerous nuclear submarines in the world. When put into service, the Barracuda will be Europe’s most modern nuclear attack submarine, maintaining the superiority of the French Navy for the next 50 years.
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