French Suffren class submarine Suffren makes port visit in Scotland

According to a tweet published by Navy Lookout on September 22, 2022, the French Suffren class nuclear attack submarine Suffren has arrived for her first visit to the HMNB Clyde, in Scotland, United Kingdom.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French Navy's Suffren class nuclear attack submarine Suffren. (Picture source: Twitter account of Florence Parly)

The Barracuda class (or Suffren class) is a nuclear attack submarine, designed by the French shipbuilder Naval Group (formerly known as DCNS and DCN) for the French Navy.

It is intended to replace the Rubis-class submarines. Construction began in 2007 and the first unit was commissioned on 6 November 2020. The lead boat of the class, FS Suffren, officially entered service on 3 June 2022.

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, and they are ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines.

They will be fitted with torpedo-tube-launched MdCN cruise missiles 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 class nuclear reactor incorporates several improvements over that of the preceding Rubis. Notably, it extends the time between refueling and complex overhauls (RCOHs) from 7 to 10 years, enabling higher at-sea availability.

Unlike previous French submarines, Suffren is not equipped with a periscope, but rather an optronic mast, which allows for much longer range and outside visible spectrum detection of targets.

A first for the French Navy is the ability to deploy a small underwater vehicle for special forces use (similar to the US Navy ASDS) thanks to a dry deck shelter. Previously special forces used torpedo tubes and handheld propulsion systems.

The ship also has the ability to use the MdCN ground attack cruise missile in its submarine-borne version, launched via torpedo tube. It is said to be ten times quieter than the previous generation Rubis-class nuclear attack submarine.