Naval Group to Launch French Navy’s First Barracuda-Class Nuclear Attack Submarine, Suffren, on July 12

Naval Group will launch the French Navy’s first Barracuda-class nuclear attack submarine, Suffren, during a ceremony at its facility in Cherbourg, France on July 12.

Construction of Suffren began in 2007 and the submarine is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2020.

Barracuda class (also called Suffren class after the lead ship of the class) is a class of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs; French: Sous-marins nucléaires d’attaque, SNA) being developed for the French Navy by the French shipbuilder Naval Group (formerly known as DCNS).

The French Navy plans to have six SNA Barracuda in service by 2030 and the first four is scheduled to be delivered over the period of 2020-2025. The new submarines are intended to replace the older Rubis-class nuclear attack submarines.

Progress on French Navy Barracuda-class SSN program. Illustration by Naval Group.
Progress on French Navy Barracuda-class SSN program. Illustration by Naval Group.

Barracuda SSNs will use technology from the French Navy’s currently operational Triomphant-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), including pump-jet propulsion.

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

The Barracuda-class submarines will be armed with torpedo-tube-launched cruise missile, MdCN (Missile de Croisière Naval, Naval Cruise Missile). MdCN is the sea-launched variant of the SCALP EG low-observable air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) developed by MBDA Missile Systems. The missile has an operational range of over 1,000 km (620 mi) and can be fired against strategic land targets.

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 missions.

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