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Suffren: a new nuclear-powered submarine is launched

The nuclear-powered attack submarine, the Suffren, was unveiled on July 12, 2019 in Cherbourg, in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, and representatives from the project's partners: the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, the DGA and Naval Group, together with Technicatome and the CEA for the nuclear propulsion steam supply system.

Published on 16 July 2019

The nuclear-powered attack submarine is a key component of France's nuclear deterrent. It enables France to retain her freedom of action and decision-making no matter what the circumstances. It is a key factor in maintaining credibility on the international stage. France largely owes this continuity to the fact that it has perpetuated a "spirit of resistance", and a defense posture that is primarily – but not solely – expressed by means of the nuclear deterrent and those who serve it on a daily basis.

The Suffren is a nuclear-powered attack submarine (SNA).

Unlike a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SNLE), whose sole purpose is nuclear deterrence, SNA Suffren is also designed for protection, intelligence-gathering and force projection duties.

The crew of the Barracuda-class submarine is made up of sixty-five submariners, men and women, belonging to the French Navy. The Barracuda-class submarine boasts enhanced capabilities for the discrete deployment of special forces, thanks to a divers' hatch and an optional Dry Deck Shelter (DDS) that can be used by commando units to deploy underwater launches.

In May 2018, the DGA issued an order for the fifth Barracuda-class nuclear-powered attack submarine. The Suffren is the first in the class, and will be more multi-purpose than her predecessors, able to go faster and further, and is designed for all types of maritime environments, in both offshore and coastal waters. She will also be stealthier, with a faster maximum stealth speed, and lighter. She will feature a hybrid steam/electric power system, combining electric engines and propulsion turbines. The Suffren combines enhanced stealth performance and among the most advanced detection capabilities in the world.

The Suffren was unveiled on July 12, 2019 in Cherbourg, in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron.


The CEA and naval nuclear propulsion      

Nuclear propulsion programs, under the contracting authority of the CEA, are designed to secure the long-term future of the military and strategic capabilities that are the French Navy's fleet of nuclear-powered vessels, and, in particular, the ocean-going component of the nuclear deterrent. As contracting authority, the CEA is backed by two industrial groups, Technicatome and Naval Group. Technicatome designs nuclear steam-supply systems and reactor cores, manufactures fuel and is the CEA's technical operator for ground testing facilities such as the future RES test reactor. Naval Group manufactures the primary pressure tanks and systems for the nuclear steam-supply systems and is the prime contractor for through-life maintenance of nuclear-posered vessels.


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