At the end of April, while France was still in full containment following the coronavirus epidemic, the nuclear attack submarine Suffren began its sea trials off Cherbourg. The first Barracuda-type vessel, the Suffren is currently pursuing a particularly intensive sea test campaign, given that the French Navy wishes to put the SNA into service at the end of the year. While this schedule in itself is very impressive, especially for the first representative of a new class of ships, it is also particularly critical.
Indeed, as we described in detail, the French submarine fleet could experience a serious capacity crisis in the coming months, following the dramatic fire of the SNA Perle last month. In such a context, any delay in the commissioning of the Suffren could reduce the French ANS fleet to only three operational buildings instead of the six usually planned.
The Suffren has arrived in the Mediterranean
For the moment, everything suggests that the sea trials of the Suffren are on schedule initially, despite the health crisis and some technical adjustments inherent in this type of testing. After a first phase of static and low immersion tests, the Suffren thus carried out its first dives in the high seas at the beginning of June, until reaching its maximum immersion. Following this, the vessel headed again to the Naval Group shipyards in Cherbourg for a passage in dry dock in order to make technical adjustments intended to improve the maneuverability of the submarine when diving.
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