Designed under the responsibility of the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the nuclear boiler was produced under the supervision of TechnicAtome, designer of the boiler, Naval Group, being responsible for the production of the pressure vessels and for the integration of the nuclear boiler on board all Barracuda type SSNs.
One thousand employees from both companies work full time in parallel on the six nuclear boiler of the Barracuda program.
“The first divergence of the nuclear reactor is the privileged moment for all those who have contributed to making this operational and technological success possible. From designer to driver, including fitters, testers, welders and so many other fields of work, this is a rare moment of collective achievement, symbol of a sector that keeps its promises in the service of the French Navy. ”
Loïc Rocard, TechnicAtome CEO
“The start-up of the nuclear boiler on board the Suffren submarine is another demonstration of the know-how of the French nuclear industrial sector, at the forefront of which are TechnicAtome and Naval Group. This success is the guarantee of having an unequaled defense tool with a high level of industrial autonomy for the benefit of the sovereignty of France ”
Hervé Guillou, Naval Group CEO
To start the divergence, a controlled nuclear reaction in the core was initiated for the first time. This short operation marks the beginning of permanent monitoring of the nuclear boiler room by the operating teams. This monitoring will be uninterrupted until the final shutdown of the submarine, scheduled for the 2050s.
About Suffren-class SSN
The Suffren-class is designed to replace the Rubis-class in the French Navy (Marine Nationale). Naval Group is in charge of the construction of this submarines series, including the design and construction of the ship and information systems as well as the manufacturing of the main components of nuclear boiler rooms.
The “launch event” took place on July 12 2019 in presence of French president Emmanuel Macron. The actual “launch in the water” took place on August 1st, when the submarine entered the water for the first time at the Naval Group shipyard in Cherbourg, Normandie.
Suffren will start sea trials in the first quarter 2020. First around Cherbourg (where the first static diving will be conducted), then in Brest area (for deep diving tests) and finally in Toulon area (in the late summer/early fall of 2020) for tests of the weapon systems. Commissioning by the French Navy should take place in late 2020. The first crew just completed its pre-sea trials training.
Suffren-class submarines specifications
- Surface displacement: 4,700 tonnes
- Diving displacement: 5,300 tonnes
- Length: 99 metres
- Diameter: 8.8 metres
- Maximum depth: > 350 meters
- Armament: naval cruise missiles, F21 heavy-weight wire-guided torpedoes, modernised Exocet SM39 anti-ship missiles
- Hybrid propulsion: pressurised 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 + approx. 15 commandos
- Availability: > 270 days per year
To learn more about the Barracuda type, check out our in-depth reporting