With its technology and capabilities, the Barracuda programme reveals the work of the French defence industrial base, as it replaces the ageing submarines of the Rubis class in service with the French Navy.
As a key component of the French Navy’s submarine modernisation program, the Barracuda-class submarines are expected to redefine the nation’s defence capabilities and bolster its maritime presence. The second Barracuda-class, Duguay-Trouin, started its sea trials in March this year.
The Barracuda programme, managed by Naval Group, has collaborated with TechnicAtome and the CEA (French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission). Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group, attended the ceremony and expressed his pride in leading this programme for the DGA (French Directorate General of Armaments) and the French Navy.
“The rollout of the third Barracuda submarine is a major milestone for Naval Group and all its partners,” said Pommellet. “We are fully committed to this programme, providing France with an unrivalled defence tool. This event is a testament to the dedication of French industry in serving our armed forces.”
Naval Group’s involvement in the Barracuda programme spans the production process, from design to construction, including the development and manufacturing of the nuclear boilers’ main components in collaboration with TechnicAtome. Additionally, the company will provide logistical support and maintenance services for the submarines stationed in Toulon.
The project mobilises the skills of all Naval Group sites and the industrial facilities of TechnicAtome and various partner companies, showcasing the collective commitment to bolstering France’s defence capabilities.
The Barracuda submarines have MBDA’s naval cruise missiles, F21 heavyweight torpedoes from Naval Group, and the SM39 anti-ship missile from MBDA. They also boast the capability of deploying Special Forces underwater, facilitated by a “divers hatch” and an optional dry deck shelter to deploy underwater vehicles.
Featuring a surface displacement of 4,700 tonnes, diving displacement of 5,200 tonnes, and measuring 99m in length with a diameter of 8.8m, the Barracuda SSNs are powered by a hybrid propulsion system comprising a pressurised water reactor derived from Triomphant-type SSBN and Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier reactors, two propulsion turbines, two turbo generators, and two electric motors.
The submarine accommodates a crew of 63 members and commandos and is designed for availability exceeding 270 days per year.
With over two decades of collective effort involving approximately 2,500 individuals, including around 800 from Naval Group subcontractors, the Barracuda programme represents a technological and capability leap for the French Navy.
As Tourville progresses to its sea trials in 2024, Naval Group and its partners remain steadfast in their commitment to providing the French Navy with advanced and potent defence assets for safeguarding the nation’s maritime interests.