Sea trials of the second French Barracuda-class nuclear submarine begin.

France’s latest nuclear-powered attack submarine has entered its final testing phase ahead of its scheduled delivery to the armed forces later this year.

The SSN Duguay-Trouin, belonging to the new generation of Barracuda-class nuclear-powered submarines, began its sea trials on March 27 and 28 at the Cherbourg naval base in Normandy (France), according to the Ministry of French defense and submarine manufacturer, NavalGroup. After several months of testing, it should be delivered to the French Navy in the summer of 2023.

According to a news release issued by the Ministry on March 28th, the Duguay-Trouin will be undergoing various tests in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean after completing an initial round of testing in the English Channel and returning to Cherbourg.

The French Navy will be in charge of the submarine during sea trials, but it will remain the property of the Naval Group and TechnicAtome, the nuclear reactor’s builder.

Sea trials of the second French Barracuda-class nuclear submarine begin.

Submarine SSN Suffren, the first of its class, entered service in June after being delivered in 2021. The General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) and the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), which oversees the nuclear boiler section, work together to run the program, which began in 2006 to replace the existing Rubis-class SSNs from the 1980s.

According to the Naval Group, four Barracuda-class submarines are currently in various stages of development. The Tourville, de Grasse, Rubis, and Casabianca submarines are scheduled to be delivered by 2030, with the class serving the Navy until the 2060s. This submarine class is intended to be stealthier than its predecessors and capable of firing cruise missiles at faraway targets.

Among their capabilities, the Barracuda-class submarines will provide the French Navy with a deep strike capability using MBDA naval cruise missiles (NCM). They also have Naval Group’s F21 heavy torpedo and MBDA’s Exocet SM39 anti-ship missile. 

They were designed to allow for the “discreet deployment” of special forces divers underwater, according to the Naval Group, with a “diver’s hatch” and the optional carriage of a dry deck shelter, which allows for the deployment of underwater vehicles.