The new Minister of Defence, Sébastien Lecornu, came to Brest and visited Suffren on the occasion of commissioning, and announced on his Twitter that the nuclear attack submarine is now in active service, which means that Suffren is able to conduct operational missions.
Admiral Pierre Vender, Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces, also celebrated Suffren’s commissioning on his official Twitter account, mentioning that Suffren is the French Navy’s first Barracuda submarine.
“The Suffren is the first Barracuda to enter operational service after being accepted. She is promising submarine developed by our engineers from DGA, Naval Group, and Technic Atome. I wish Suffren and her crew fair winds and following seas!”
Admiral Pierre Vandier, Chief of Staff
In October 2021, Naval News was granted access to the Suffren and experienced what it is like to step inside a next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine. Click here to read a more in-depth article about Suffren.
Six new attack submarines will form the vanguard of the French Navy (Marine Nationale) for the coming decades. Developed as the Barracuda program, the lead boat of the new class, Suffren, was launched in July 2019. The new submarines will offer a massive capability leap over the current Rubis-class boats.
Suffren in numbers:
- Surface displacement: 4,700 tons
- Diving displacement: 5,100 tons
- Length: 99 meters
- Diameter: 8.8 meters
- Maximum depth: > 350 meters
- Speed: > 25 knots
- Armament: naval cruise missiles, F21 heavy-weight wire-guided torpedoes, modernized Exocet SM39 anti-ship missiles, FG-29 mines, D-19 UUV (future development)
- Hybrid propulsion: pressurized water reactor (150MW) derived from the reactors on board the Triomphant-class SSBN and Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, two propulsion turbines, two turbo generators and two electric motors
- Crew: 63 crew members + approx. 15 commandos
- Endurance: 70 days at sea (or until food supplies run out)
Innovation for naval combat
The Suffren is equipped with numerous innovations that allow it to demonstrate differentiating capabilities in many areas. The French Navy’s new submarine is able to strike deep behind enemy line all while remaining stealthy thanks to the torpedo tube-launched naval cruise missile (MdCN). The integration of state-of-the-art sensors also gives it superior anti-submarine warfare and intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Commander Colonna D’Istria mentioned that the non-penetrating optronic masts (by Safran Electronic and Defense) were a disruptive technology. They bring unmatched high quality (4K) imagery and every sailor in the CIC can access them. Finally, Suffren comes with systems that facilitate the deployment of naval special forces. In particular, the Dry Deck Shelter, a removable deck hangar, allows the deployment of the new PSM3G swimmer delivery vehicle (SDV) and a dozen combat swimmers.
Further, longer, with a smaller crew
The Suffren also brings its share of improvements to the benefit of the 63 sailors who constitute each of its two crews (the French Navy uses a dual crew system for all its submarines and some of its surface ships). Many equipment have been automated, or their use simplified. Living conditions have also been improved, with the sailors gaining in privacy and comfort with more personal space compared to the Rubis-class SSN, as well as a greater number of showers.