The future of the Pearl attack nuclear submarine of the French Navy seemed very compromised after the fire which very heavily damaged the entire front section of the submersible while the latter was undergoing maintenance at the Toulon arsenal in June of this year. The damage was so important that a reconstruction of the front had to be considered in order to hope to see the submarine go back to sea, with costs far too important to be able to be borne by Naval Group, its insurer and the Ministry of the Armed Forces. . At the same time, the anticipated withdrawal of the Perle would have deprived the French Navy of a nuclear attack submarine in a particularly tense context, while the SNA Suffren program was several years behind, which the SNA preceded by the Ruby class, to which the Pearl belongs, reach the limit of potential, and that the operational pressure is very high.
The situation seemed hopeless, and the French Navy was preparing to have to do without an additional submarine for at least 3 years, when Naval Group engineers devised a solution as elegant as it was original, and even economical, in time as in credit. The solution proposed by the French shipbuilder is indeed based on the replacement of the damaged bow of the Perle by that of the Saphir, the second unit of the Rubis class, which entered service in 1984 and withdrawn from service in July 2019, and whose disarmament was started in Cherbourg. All the SNAs in the class having gone through the Amethyste redesign, the front section of the Saphir, initially different from that of the Perle which entered service 9 years later, are in fact identical.
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