France’s Naval Group will conduct repairs to the fire-damaged French nuclear attack submarine Perle, the country’s Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly said yesterday.
The nuclear submarine suffered severe damage earlier this year after a fire broke out on the boat in June. Naval Group estimates repairs to the submarine will take six months.
Parly said: “We can mend the Perle, and we will mend it. I say in the first place ‘we can’ because the road which opens before us is long and arduous.”
Naval Group will conduct the repairs following a period of damage analysis undertaken by the French Navy’s Fleet Support Service, Directorate General of Armament and Naval Group.
The rear section of the Perle will be cut away from its damaged fore-section and will be joined with the front of another submarine Saphir, which was retired over a year ago.
Naval Group will then reconnect internal cabling, pipes and other systems.
Repair work will be carried out in Cherbourg, after which the submarine will be moved to Toulon to complete maintenance work that planned before the fire. The French Defence Ministry said it expects the submarine to be operational again in 2023.
Perle is the last of six Rubis-class nuclear attack submarines that have been in service with the French Navy since the 1990s. Before the fire, the submarine’s renovation would have ensured its service life until at least 2030.
French newspaper Le Monde reported that repairs to the submarine would cost at least €120m (£108m) to complete. Le Monde added that the French Ministry of Defence would stump €70m of the costs, with the rest coming from insurance.
The in-production Suffren-class submarines, which are also being built by Naval Group, will eventually replace the Rubis-class boats. So far one Suffren-class submarine has been completed, with two in-development and a total of six planned.