SSN, first of Baracuda class will begin sea trials in spring 2016
first of the new Baracuda class of nuclear powered submarine, will
begin its sea trials in the spring of 2016 for delivery to the French
Navy in 2017. Assembled in the arsenal of DCNS Cherbourg, the 99.5 meters
hull is almost finished, but there is still over four years of work
to complete the first ship.
Suffren is the first in a series of six nuclear powered submarines ordered
by the Marine Nationale (French Navy) to replace the current Ruby class.
The ships will be named after French admirals and famous sailors (Those
names were already used in the past to name several French Navy frigates):
Suffren, Duguay-Trouin, Tourville, Duquesne, De Grasse, Dupetit-Thouars.
They will enter service between 2017 and 2027 at a rate of one every
two years. The total program costs 8.5 billion euros.
SSN class model shown by DCNS during Euronaval 2010
class is the fourth type of nuclear submarines built in France, after
Le Redoutable class (six ships), Rubis class (six ships) and Le Triomphant
class (four ships). The launch of the next generation of French SSBNs
will not occur for another three to five years.
With 5 000 tonnes, the Suffren class is two times larger than the Rubis
class. Their propulsion is provided by a K15 nuclear reactor , the same
type used in Le Triomphant class and Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
The design of the submarine now incorporates diving bars in a "St.
Andrew's cross" configuration (X-shaped), where the aft/stern diving
bars also act as rudder.
SSN (source: DCNS)
Another major evolution
is the end of the optical periscope. Baracuda class now comes with
an "optronics mast", manufactured by Sagem, with four cameras
that transmit their images via optical fiber through the hull. This
technique is already used by the Royal Navy on the Astute class.
Sailors will no longuer be on watch in the rear section of the submarine,
as is the case now for propulsion. Sensors and cameras will be used
to monitor this key part of the vessels.
The Suffren class will have a small crew of sixty sailors, while it
will have accomodations for up to seventy-five people including a
dozen commandos. The new French SSN class will also be able to carry
a Dry Deck Shelter on its hull to store special equipment for navy
commandos, a first in the French Navy.
are designed to carry a mixed male/female crew, eventough the decision
to include females in bumarine crews has not been taken yet by French
Pending the delivery
of the first ship, infrastructure work will take place at Toulon naval
base where the new class will be homeported. The existing ponds are
large enough to accommodate the Suffren, but submariners agree that
the maneuver, already difficult, will become even more difficult.