The French submarine FNS Améthyste (S605) visited Naval Station Norfolk, Sept. 16-19. During the boat’s arrival, sailors aboard Améthyste were welcomed by Submarine Force Atlantic and Joint Forces Command Norfolk. The French submariners were also hosted by the crew of the U.S. Navy Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785) throughout their visit. Prior to Améthyste’s arrival in Naval Station Norfolk, the French submarine stopped at Naval Submarine Base New London for a scheduled port visit.The boat’s last visit to Naval Station Norfolk was in 2018.
“In September 1781, a French fleet won the Battle of the Capes, leading to a combined U.S.-French victory at Yorktown and American independence,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Vandenengel, John Warner’s executive officer. “240 years later, the great ship FNS Améthyste sailed directly by the site of that battle as they came into Norfolk today, continuing a longstanding tradition of strong ties between our two great navies and nations. John Warner is honored to host Cmdr. Schaeffer and the officers and crew of Améthyste as we work to further strengthen that alliance.”
Améthyste is a nuclear-powered attack submarine of the French Navy, the fifth of the Rubis type. The boat’s name is a pun on a precious stone (Amethyst) and the acronym AMElioration Tactique, HydrodYnamique, Silence, Transmission, Ecoute (“Tactical, hydrodynamics, silence and transmission improvements”). The boat is a major upgrade upon the initial design of the Rubis type, and earlier units have since been refitted to meet her standards. Améthyste was commissioned in 1992.
The mission of the Submarine Force is to execute the Department of the Navy’s mission in and from the undersea domain. In addition to lending added capacity to naval forces, the Submarine Force, in particular, is expected to leverage those special advantages that come with undersea concealment to permit operational, deterrent and combat effects that the Navy and the nation could not otherwise achieve. The Submarine Force and supporting organizations constitute the primary undersea arm of the Navy. Submarines and their crews remain the tip of the undersea spear.