France-based shipbuilder Naval Group has delivered the first of six Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines (SSN) for the French Navy.

The 99m-long submarine was delivered to the French Armament Procurement Agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement, DGA).  In July last year, the company launched the Suffren.

This delivery marks an important milestone in the Barracuda programme, which revamps the French nuclear deterrence capability’s submarine component.

Suffren SSNs will replace the Rubis-class submarines and serve as the French submarine forces’ backbone until the 2060s.

With a surface displacement of 4,600t, the vessels will provide the navy with a deep strike capability with MBDA’s naval cruise missiles (MdCN).

Delivery of the six submarines is expected to take place over the next ten years.

The vessel can be equipped with F21 heavyweight wire-guided torpedoes and modernised Exocet SM39 anti-ship missiles. Each submarine can accommodate a crew of 65 people plus special forces.

Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet said: “What a long way Naval Group has come with its industrial and governmental partners since the first metal sheet was cut on December 10, 2007, less than a year after the DGA had signed the acquisition contract. The industrial challenges have been numerous.

“I salute the commitment of Naval Group’s design and production teams, of TechnicAtome, the prime contractor for the onboard nuclear boiler room, as well as those of the DGA, the CEA and the French Navy.

Hundreds of French companies, both large and small, at the forefront of which Naval Group stands, have been and continue to be mobilised for the construction of this programme.”

In September this year, Naval Group selected iXblue navigation systems for the French Navy’s four future tankers.