Naval Group launches 3rd Barracuda class nuclear attack submarine Tourville


According to a tweet published by Naval Group on June 20, 2023, the third member of the state-of-the-art Barracuda-class submarine series made its departure from its assembly location, aimed at the DME floatation device-based ship elevator.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French Barracuda class nuclear attack submarine Tourville. (Picture source: Naval Group)


This next-generation underwater vessel belongs to a sextet of SSNs, progressively superseding the Rubis-class submarines presently utilized by the French Navy.

The launch of this third Barracuda-class submarine marks a substantial leap in the program's timeline, paving the way for maritime trials slated for 2024. Prior to this significant event, the vessel will undergo a series of finish works and preliminary assessments at the dockside.

The Naval Group assumes the responsibility of crafting these submarines from inception to completion, incorporating the construction of primary components of nuclear boilers, a task shared with TechnicAtome. Additionally, they will provide logistical backing and perform maintenance operations on the submarines in Toulon.

The Barracuda program represents an epitome of excellence, harnessing the skills and knowledge of the French defense industrial and technological base. This initiative collaboratively involves all Naval Group locations and several partner companies, including the industrial establishments of TechnicAtome.

MBDA's naval cruise missiles are part of the arsenal of these modern submarines, designed to enhance the French Navy's deep-strike capabilities. They also come with the heavyweight F21 torpedo and SM39 anti-ship missile, products of Naval Group and MBDA respectively.

The submarines are designed to accommodate underwater deployment of Special Forces, with features like a unique "divers hatch" and an optional dry deck shelter for deploying underwater vehicles.

In terms of their technical details, these Barracuda SSNs have a surface displacement of 4,700 tonnes and a diving displacement of 5,200 tonnes. The length of each vessel is 99 metres, and they have a diameter of 8.8 metres.

Their weaponry comprises naval cruise missiles, F21 heavy-weight wire-guided torpedoes, and updated Exocet SM39 anti-ship missiles. A pressurised water reactor, similar to the ones on the Triomphant-type SSBN and Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, powers the hybrid propulsion system, which also includes two propulsion turbines, two turbo generators, and two electric motors. The submarine can accommodate a total of 63 crew members and commandos, with a potential operational availability exceeding 270 days annually.