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With Pomp and Circumstance 'Naval Group presented its new nuclear-powered hunter-killer on July 12 in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron in Cherbourg (English class designation SSN, French SNA) "Suffren". Thus took place after a long wait (concept and definition from 1998, contracting in December 2006) of the kick-off to the pilot phase of this new class, which is said to end in the summer of 2020, the planned commissioning in Toulon, three years later than originally planned. The timing of the ceremony, which did not constitute a typical launch (which is to take place later in the summer) seemed very deliberately chosen: Presentation before the French national holiday, July 14th. The first crew was institutionalized on 11 July.

"Suffren" is the first boat of the Barracuda program, which the French navy will replace their (six) hunting submarines in the aging Rubis-class (construction in 1976) over the next few years. "Sapphire", the second boat of the class, moved earlier this month from Brest to Cherbourg and expected after 35 years of service its decommissioning at the end - as the first boat of its type. By 2025 will be another three Barracuda boats delivered ( "de Grasse" "Duguay-Trouin", "Tourville"), two other family to be complete 2029/2030 ( "Casa Bianca" and "Rubis").

In addition to his weapons with cruise missiles (MDCN - Missile de Croisière Naval MBDA) (whose range is specified with more than 1,000 kilometers), (severe) F21 torpedoes (Naval Group) and Exocet SM39 Block 2 ship-ship missiles (also from MBDA) has the submarine via mine laying capability and is capable of drones (UUV) suspended in dipped state. Thanks to a modular (mission-specific), dry deck shelter ', which is accessible from an airlock, special units (up to 12 man can also be accommodated on the occupation) and their equipment (eg, Swimmer Delivery Vehicle' PSM3G (propulseur sous be used marin de troisième génération) of ECA). In addition to the arranged as St. Andrew's Cross control unit the boat is ready for a optronic mast (daylight, infrared and light-amplifying camera) as a further feature. The traditional optical periscope has served to "Suffren".

With their equipment, the Barracuda class puts the French navy in a position to their hunting submarines not only in their typical role ((against strategic submarines and protect its own strategic submarines SSBN) or the support group) and use as part of education campaigns. They allow operations against surface targets and missions against (strategic) ground targets (a first for French submarines). The possibility of using special forces to a greater extent, provides a capability increase. In addition, the increase in autonomy (according to factory specifications is now 70 to 45 earlier) clearly and offers additional operational possibilities.

The opening ceremony was the occasion to announce the appointment of the sixth boat of the series. Thus, all six boats of approximately 9.1 billion euro expensive program are now commissioned. The costs amount to about 1.5 billion euros per boat (By comparison, for the procurement U 212A (six boats) are estimated to cost 2.59 billion euros for one, reordering 'of two other boats, according to the. kept commitments 1.59 billion euros. A unit of US Virginia class costs (variance due to the ongoing building program since 2000) from 2.2 to 2.9 billion euros.)

"These are the best submarines in the world at very attractive prices and with extraordinary capabilities. .... It ranks us in the top league, "let Hervé Guillou, CEO of the Naval Group" know the audience, which included the French Minister of Defense Florence Parly belonged with her Australian counterpart Linda Reynolds. Australia had signed a purchase agreement for 12 conventionally powered submarines of the Barracuda design.

Technical data of the "Suffren"

Displacement: 4,700 tons submerged: 5300 tons
Length: 99 meters
Diameter: 8.8 meters
Depth: Specifying Naval Group: more than 300 meters, indicating French Defense: more than 350 meters
Torpedo tubes: Four torpedo tubes 533 mm
Drive: Hybrid drive: pressurized water reactor (150 MW), two drive turbines, two turbo-generators and two electric motors, water-jet drive (pump jet)
Speed: dipped over 23 knots (Source: French Ministry of Defense)
Crew: 65 crewmembers + special forces (12). Mixed crew (the first time for French SNA). Two crews per boat.
Autonomy: Naval Group indicates 70 days
Availability: > 270 days a year

Hans Uwe Mergener