The next generation nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) started its sea trials with a static dive test on April 28. As we reported previously, the sea trails are planned in three phases:
- Phase 1 took place around Cherbourg (where Naval Group’s submarine shipyard is located and where the first static diving was conducted)
- Phase 2 took place in Brest area, in Britanny (for navigation and deep diving tests)
- Phase 3 is now taking place in Toulon area for tests of the weapon systems. This is where the SSN will eventually be commissioned in late 2020.
The ongoing test campaign continues in Toulon because this is where all French Navy SSNs are based, and because the main navy test center is located on Ile du Levan close to Toulon. The submarine is set to test its F21 torpedo, AM39 Exocet anti-ship missile and land attack cruise missile. The commanding officer would not provide details on whether the DDS and PSM3G diver deliver vehicle would be tested as well.
Managed by the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) and conducted by the French Navy with the support of shipbuilder Naval Group, those sea trials are necessary to check that the various systems and equipment of the submarine work as planning, before its qualification and then its delivery to the French forces.
Following the submarine’s first dive off Cherbourg in April, the program’s state and industrial teams carried out various sea trials to ensure that the submarine was sailing safely and to test its performance, both technical and operational. These tests allowed specialists from DGA to study the collected data. These analyzes show that the behavior at sea of the first-in-class submarine is consistent with its computer modeling.
Talking to Naval News, Commander Axel Roche, the commanding officer of Suffren said:
The sea trials of Suffren are going well and according to the plans outlined by DGA and Naval Group. I am very satisfied with the way it is going. The crew is very proud to dock here in Toulon for the very first time with the first Barracuda type submarine.
Commander Axel Roche
Next week, Naval News will publish a video about Suffren‘s arrival in Toulon.
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-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, 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 + approx. 15 commandos
- Availability: > 270 days per year
To learn more about the Barracuda type, check out our in-depth reporting.