French Barracuda-class submarine

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Barracuda class
Profile of the Barracuda type, with her pump-jet propeller and X-shaped stern planes.
Class overview
Name: Barracuda class
Builders: DCNS
Operators:  French Navy
Preceded by: Rubis class
  • €9.9bn[1](FY2013) for six boats
  • €1,300m[1](FY2013) per unit
Built: 2007-
In commission: 2017- (planned)
Building: 2
Planned: 6
Completed: 0
General characteristics
Type: Nuclear attack submarine
  • 4,765 t surfaced
  • 5,300 t submerged
Length: 99.4 m (326 ft)
Beam: 8.8 m (29 ft)
Draught: 7.3 m (24 ft)
  • 2 turboreductors groups (10 MW (13,000 hp) propulsion alternator feeding electric engines)
  • Nuclear reactor K15, 150 MW (200,000 hp)
  • 2 emergency electric engines
  • One pump jet
  • Over 25 kn (46 km/h; 29 mph)
  • 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph), surfaced
Range: unlimited range, 10 years (nuclear)
Endurance: 70 days of food [2]
  • 12 officers
  • 48 petty officers
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Velox-M8

The Barracuda class (or Suffren class) is a new nuclear attack submarine, designed by the French shipbuilder DCNS for the French Navy, replacing the Rubis-class submarines. Construction began in 2007 and the first unit will be commissioned in 2017.

Barracudas will use technology from the Triomphant class, including pump jet propulsion. This class reportedly produces approximately 1/1000 of the detectable noise of the Redoutable-class boats (submarines), and they are ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines.[5] They will be fitted with torpedo-tube-launched cruise missiles MDCN SCALP Naval for long-range (well above 1,000 km (620 mi)) strikes against strategic land targets. Their missions will include anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, land attack, intelligence gathering, crisis management and special operations. The Barracuda type will use X-shaped stern planes.


In October 1998, the Delegation Générale pour l'Armement, the French government's defense procurement agency, established an integrated project team consisting of the Naval Staff, DCN, Technicatome and the Commissariat a l'Énergie Atomique, a regulatory body that oversees nuclear power plants, to oversee the design of a new attack submarine class.[6] DCN was to be the boat's designer and builder while Technicatome, since absorbed Areva company, was to be responsible for the nuclear power plant. The two companies was to jointly act as a single prime contractor to share the industrial risks, manage the schedules, and be responsible for the design's performance and costs, which at the time was estimated to be US$4.9 billion.[6]

The first boat was to commence sea trials in 2011 for an entry into service in 2012.[6]

However the List of active French Navy ships, updated as of July 2015, states that the first new Barracuda-class submarine, Suffren will be launched in 2016 for sea trials, with anticipated commissioning into service in 2017.

A conventionally powered derivative, dubbed the SMX-Ocean, has been proposed.[7]


The Barracuda class nuclear reactor incorporates several improvements over that of the preceding Rubis. Notably, it extends the time between refuelling and complex overhauls (RCOHs) from 7 to 10 years, enabling higher at-sea availability.

In support of special operations missions, Barracuda's may also accommodate up to 12 commandos, while carrying their equipment in a mobile pod attached aft of the sail.[2]

On 22 December 2006 the French government placed a €7.9 billion order for six Barracuda submarines with DCNS and their nuclear powerplants with Areva-Technicatome.[8] According to the DGA “Competition at the subcontractor level will be open to foreign companies for the first time.”[9] The first submarine will be delivered in 2016. Alain Aupetit, DCNS's Barracuda programme director, said “The gap between the delivery of boats one and two will be two-and-a-half years.... After that, we will deliver one boat every two years through to the delivery of the last submarine in 2026.”


Pennant no. Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
Suffren 19 December 2007 Expected in 2017 Expected in Dec 2017[1] Toulon
Duguay-Trouin 26 June 2009 Expected end 2020[1] Toulon
Tourville 28 June 2011 Expected in 2022[1] Toulon
Dupetit-Thouars[10] Expected in 2025 Toulon
Duquesne[10] Expected in 2027 Toulon
De Grasse[10] Expected in 2029 Toulon

Projected variants

DCNS will propose a conventionally powered version – named the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A – as its pre-concept design for competitive evaluation process (CEP) phase of Australia's Collins-class submarine replacement. “While exact details remain confidential, DCNS can confirm the Shortfin Barracuda is over 90 metres in length and displaces more than 4,000 tons when dived,” said Sean Costello, CEO DCNS Australia.[11]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Projet de loi de finances pour 2014 : Défense : équipement des forces et excellence technologique des industries de défense" (in French). Senate of France. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-02. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "France's Future SSNs: The Barracuda Class". Defense Industry Daily. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Nouvelle génération de torpille lourde pour la Marine nationale : la F21" (PDF). DCNS. October 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Vavasseur, Xavier (8 February 2015). "Exclusive Interview With The French Navy On The Barracuda SSN Program". Retrieved 1 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "SNLE-NG Le Triomphant". Retrieved 22 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Preston, Antony (1 October 2002). "France unveils plans for new barracuda SSNs". Sea Power. Retrieved 18 May 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "SMX® Ocean Conventionally Powered Attack Submarine, France". Retrieved 16 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "France orders six 'Barracuda' class nuclear-driven submarines". Agence France Presse. 2006-12-22. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Navy League of the United States - Citizens in Support of the Sea Services[dead link]
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Programme Barracuda : mer en vue pour le Suffren" (in French). Ministry of Defence of France. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 2015-08-13. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "DCNS unveils Shortfin Barracuda" (Press release). DCNS. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links