The first of six Barracuda (Suffren) class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) for the French Navy was launched at NAVAL Group’s Cherbourg shipyards on July 12.
The launch of the vessel, to be named Suffren in French service, was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds. It is expected to be delivered to the French Navy and commissioned in late 2020 after initial builder’s trials, and the six vessels will replace a similar number of Rubis class boats in service.
The French government ordered the six submarines in December 2006 on a fixed price contract for TY€7.9bn (A$12.63bn). The Suffren ’was originally scheduled to be launched in 2015, sea trials were expected to occur in 2016 and delivery was planned for 2017, and the contract is now reportedly valued at €9.1bn (A$14.55bn) for all six vessels.
The RAN has ordered 12 Attack class submarines based on NAVAL’s conventionally-powered Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A design, with the first boat due to enter service in 2032.