mates first sections of second Barracuda, futur class of French nuclear
today mated the first hull sections of SSN Duguay-Trouin, the second
Barracuda-type nuclear-powered attack submarine ordered in June 2009
by defence procurement agency DGA for the French Navy. This is a major
milestone in the construction of the second-of-type SSN’s pressure
hull. Between 2017 and 2027 six Barracudas will replace the six Rubis/Améthyste-class
boats currently in service.
The mating of the two midship pressure rings took just under two months
to complete. Hull sections 12 and 13 will house the ops room including
the boat’s main command, navigation and operations systems. The
rings weigh over 30 tonnes and were butt-welded along their entire circumference.
Of the 21 hull rings making up SSN Duguay-Trouin, ten have been
completed and eight are under construction. Hull ring mating work will
continue until early 2013.
Hull rings are mated using a sophisticated new controlled-atmosphere
technology ensuring both faster and superior welding. Improvements from
preparation and adjustment to preheating, welding proper and inspection
enabled the sections to be welded together in less than two months,
or 15% faster than previously.
The Barracuda programme represents a vital contribution to the renewal
of France’s naval forces and a large proportion of the group’s
production workload as it will keep DCNS teams and facilities busy until
The two sections
about to be connected
Baracuda SSN class model shown by DCNS during Euronaval 2010
(picture: Navy Recognition)
In December 2006, the DGA awarded the overall Barracuda
contract to DCNS, appointing the group as programme prime contractor
and Areva-TA as nuclear powerplant prime contractor. The firm order
placed in December 2006 calls for the development and construction of
first-of-class SSN Suffren and through-life support during the first
years of operational service. The second and third tranches, confirmed
in 2009 and 2011 respectively, cover the construction of SSN Duguay-Trouin
and SSN Tourville, respectively the second and third of type.
Between 2017 and 2027, Barracuda-type SSNs will replace the Navy’s
current-generation Rubis/Améthyste-class boats. Mission capabilities
range from intelligence gathering and special operations (by deploying
commandos and special forces) to anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine
warfare, land strikes and contributions to joint operations wherever
the type’s interoperability and associated capabilities (including
discrete communications and tactical datalinks) are required. The weapons
payload will include next-generation type F21 heavyweight torpedoes,
SM39 anti-ship missiles and MdCN-type naval cruise missiles.