French Navy Orders Fifth Barracuda-Class Nuclear Attack Submarine

The French Navy has ordered an additional Barracuda-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) from Naval Group, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces said in a statement.

According to the statement, the French Directorate General for Armament (DGA, Direction générale de l’armement) notified the order to Naval Group and TechnicAtome, on 31 May 2018. Naval Group is the prime contractor for the vessel and TechnicAtome will be providing the nuclear reactors.

The French Navy plans to have six SNA Barracuda (Sous-marins nucléaires d’attaque – Nuclear Attack Submarine) in service, by 2030. The first four is scheduled to be delivered over the period of 2020-2025. The lead vessel, Suffren, is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2020.

Barracuda-class (or Suffren class) is a class of nuclear attack submarines designed by the French shipbuilder DCNS (now Naval Group) for the French Navy, to replace the Rubis-class nuclear submarines which entered service between 1983 and 1993.

The construction of the first vessel began in 2007 and the first unit will be commissioned into the fleet by 2020.

Barracudas will use technology from the Triomphant-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), including pump-jet propulsion. Triomphant-class reportedly produces approximately 1/1000 of the detectable noise of the Redoutable-class submarines it replaced, and they are ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines.

The submarines will have a surfaced displacement of about 4,100t, a maximum speed of about 25 knots and a maximum diving depth of more than 350m. The vessels will be powered by a 50MW K15 pressure water reactor.

The Barracuda-class submarines will be equipped with torpedo-tube-launched cruise missile, MdCN (Missile de Croisière Naval, Naval Cruise Missile). MdCN has an operational range of over 1,000 km, 620 mi and can be fired against strategic land targets.

MdCN is the sea-launched variant of the SCALP EG low-observable air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), developed by MBDA Missile Systems. (SCALP EG – Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général, General Purpose Long Range Cruise Missile)

The submarines will be also armed with F21 Artemis heavyweight torpedoes, Exocet SM39 Block2 anti-ship missiles and FG29 mines.

The primary missions of the Barracuda-class vessels will include anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare (ASuW, ASW), land attack, intelligence gathering, crisis management and special operations.

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