France’s Naval Group has announced the commencement of sea trials of the first Barracuda-class nuclear attack submarine, the Suffren. The Barracuda-class is of course, the reference design for the Attack-class conventionally-powered submarines Australia will be building for its SEA 1000 Future submarine project.

In a statement, Naval Group says the trials will enable the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and the French Navy to test the performances of the submarine at sea before her delivery later this year. A total of six Barracuda-class vessels will be added to the French Navy’s fleet by 2030.

“The first sea trial of the Suffren is a source of great pride for Naval Group employees and their partners. I am extremely grateful for the efforts of our teams. They made it possible to start these trials while respecting strict compliance with the health and safety measures to protect the crew which is partly constituted of Naval Group members,” declared Pierre Eric Pommellet, Naval Group’s Chairman and CEO.

“Together, we are conducting the sea trials that will lead to the delivery of the Suffren and committed to the production of the other five submarines of the series, which is a major priority for the company”.

This series of sea trials follows the divergence, otherwise known as the firing up, of the nuclear reactor which took place in December last year and the dock tests carried out since the launch of the submarine on July 12, 2019.

The trials are conducted by joint teams from Naval Group, TechnicAtome and French authorities and aimed to ensure, among other things, water-tightness in underwater environment and manoeuvrability; performance of the on board combat system and tactical weapons and the full performance of its operational capacities.

The Suffren is the first of class submarine, and intended to replace the generation of Ruby-type SSNs. The new submarines will bring with them a deep strike capability for the French Navy with MBDA’s naval cruise missiles (NCM) and also allows the discreet deployment of Special Forces underwater with its “divers hatch” for personnel.


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Kym Bergmann
Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


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