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French Navy Receives 2nd Barracuda Type Submarine

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Naval Group handed over the second Barracuda type nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) “Duguay-Trouin” to the French defense procurement agency (DGA) and to the French Navy.

Second Suffren-class SSN, “Duguay-Trouin” (S636), was handed over to the French Navy by Naval Group.

The French ministry of the armed forces publicly disclosed the information on 10 August 2023. The Duguay-Trouin (S636) is the second of six Suffren-class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) built as part of the Barracuda program.

Duguay-Trouin‘s keel laying took place in June 2009. In November 2021, the 4,500 tons hull was taken outside of the construction hall via 24 walkers. Duguay-Trouin was eventually launched in the summer of 2022 and its divergence (start of the nuclear boiler) took place on 30 September 2022. Alpha Trials were conducted off the Naval Group submarine shipyard of Cherbourg in Normandy at the end of March 2023.

While its delivery took place in Brest naval base (Western France), Duguay-Trouin will be based in Toulon (Southern France), like the rest of the French SSN fleet. The submarine is expected to transit to the Mediterranean sea to join its home port this fall.

Tests and trials to validate the technical capabilities of the submarine

According to a French MoD press release, the sea trials made it possible to verify the operation of the various systems and equipment of the submarine. These tests were conducted under the leadership of the DGA in conjunction with the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and in close partnership with the French Navy and the manufacturers, Naval Group and TechnicAtome.

After the Duguay-Trouin‘s first dive off Cherbourg at the end of March 2023, state and industrial teams conducted sea trials to test its technical performance and confirm the submarine’s ability to navigate safely.

The submarine thus carried out a series of tests and trials:

  • A static dive, that is to say an immersion without propelled movement, to check the stability of the submarine;
  • Surface and diving tests (speed of the submarine; tests of its performance and behavior at different depths of immersion; safety and operation of the installations, including its nuclear boiler room);
  • Dive trials to verify the functioning of its combat system, including its ability to implement its weapons and communicate.

They enabled the technical experts from the DGA’s centers of expertise to verify, in a real situation, all the technical capabilities of the submarine, based on the analysis of the data collected by the DGA’s measurement means. Naval techniques.

The Suffren-class is designed to replace the Rubis-class in the French Navy (Marine Nationale). Naval Group is in charge of the construction of this submarines series, including the design and construction of the ship and information systems as well as the manufacturing of the main components of nuclear boiler rooms.

First submarine of the class, Suffren, was delivered in November 2020. It entered “active duty” in June 2022 and completed its first operational deployment in January this year. Second submarine in the class, Duguay-Trouin, was delivered in July 2023. The French shipbuilder has to deliver four SSNs of the class by 2026. The final boat of the class, Casabianca, is expected to be handed over to the French Navy in 2029.

Suffren-class submarines specifications

  • Surface displacement: 4,700 tonnes
  • Diving displacement: 5,300 tonnes
  • Length: 99 metres
  • Diameter: 8.8 metres
  • Maximum depth: > 350 meters
  • Armament: naval cruise missiles, F21 heavy-weight wire-guided torpedoes, modernised Exocet SM39 anti-ship missiles
  • Hybrid propulsion: pressurised water reactor derived from the reactors on board the Triomphant-type SSBN and Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, two propulsion turbines, two turbo generators and two electric motors
  • Crew: 65 crew members + approx. 15 commandos
  • Availability: > 270 days per year

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