Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, welcomes the first dive in the Suffren at sea, carried out on Tuesday April 28, 2020, after her departure from the naval base of Cherbourg. The Suffren is the first of six Barracuda nuclear attack submarines. Led by the French Armaments Directorate (DGA), these sea trials, which will last several months, will confirm the robustness and efficiency of the submarine before her hand-over to the French Navy. At dockside as at sea, the test campaign will follow the specific health prevention and precautionary measures linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SSNs are real instruments of power, enduring and discreet. Their missions are varied, and range from support to the deterrent force, protection of the carrier strike group, intelligence gathering, and anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare. Suffren-type SSNs will add a land-attack cruise missile capability and will be optimized for the deployment of special forces. With the Suffren, France is starting to renew its fleet of SSNs, which entered service in the 1980s, and will thus have modern submarines among the most efficient in the world. With this first outing at sea, the Barracuda program crosses a major milestone after the launch of Suffren, on July 12, 2019, by the President of the Republic.
The Suffren class or Barracuda class is a nuclear attack submarine, designed by the French shipbuilder Naval Group (formerly known as DCNS and DCN) for the French Navy. It is intended to replace the Rubis-class submarines. Construction began in 2007 and the first unit will be commissioned in 2020. Barracudas will use technology from the Triomphant class, including pump-jet propulsion. This class reportedly produces approximately 1/1000 of the detectable noise of the Redoutable-class submarines, and they are ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines. They will be fitted with torpedo-tube-launched cruise missiles MDCN SCALP Naval for long-range (well above 1,000 km, 620 mi) strikes against strategic land targets.
The Suffren class missions will include anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, land attack, intelligence gathering, crisis management and special operations. The Barracuda class nuclear reactor incorporates several improvements over that of the preceding Rubis. In support of special operations missions, Barracudas may also accommodate up to 12 commandos, while carrying their equipment in a mobile pod attached aft of the sail. 20 weapons in rack, plus 4 in tubes, with a mix of heavy torpedo F21, Exocet SM39 Block2 Mod2 anti-ship missiles of 50 km range, naval cruise missiles with a range of 1,000 km and mines FG29 – two per standard location – anti-aircraft missiles.