French Navy Nuclear Attack Submarine Suffren (Q284)
French Navy Nuclear Attack Submarine Suffren (Q284)

French Navy Nuclear Attack Submarine Suffren (Q284) Enters Service

The French Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine Suffren (Q284) entered active duty on 03 June 2022. Suffren (Q284) is a French nuclear attack submarine. It is the lead ship of the Suffren class, stemming from the Barracuda programme. The vessel was laid down on 19 December 2007 and launched on 1 August 2019 at Cherbourg. The submarine was unveiled to the public on 12 July 2019 in Cherbourg, with a three-year delay, in front of French President Emmanuel Macron and Defense Minister Florence Parly. The K15 nuclear reactor came online on 18 December 2019. Sea trials started in 2020.

It was commissioned on 6 November 2020; while full operational service had originally been anticipated in 2021, this was pushed back into 2022 after further trials by the French Navy. The new Minister of Defence, Sébastien Lecornu, came to Brest and visited Suffren on the occasion of commissioning, and announced that the nuclear attack submarine is now in active service admission au service actif in French). Admiral Pierre Vender, Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces, also celebrated Suffren’s commissioning on his official Twitter account, mentioning that Suffren is the French Navy’s first Barracuda submarine.

French Defence Minister visiting nuclear attack submarine Suffren (Q284)

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. The Suffren class 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 boats, and they are ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines. The Barracuda class nuclear reactor incorporates several improvements over that of the preceding Rubis, between refueling and complex overhauls (RCOHs) from 7 to 10 years.

Unlike previous French submarines, Suffren is not equipped with a periscope, but rather an optronic mast, which allows for much longer range and outside visible spectrum detection of targets. They will be fitted with torpedo-tube-launched cruise missiles MDCN SCALP Naval for long-range strikes against strategic land targets. Their missions will include anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, land attack, intelligence gathering, crisis management and special operations. In support of special operations missions, Barracudas may also accommodate up to 15 commandos, while carrying their equipment in a mobile pod attached aft of the sail.