Naval Group has launched the French Navy’s first Barracuda-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, named Suffren.

The submarine launch took place at Naval Group’s facility in Cherbourg in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Suffren is the first of six latest generation submarines to be built for the French Navy under the $10.13bn Barracuda stealth vessel programme.

Designed by Naval Group, the Barracuda-class vessels will replace the navy’s Rubis-class generation.

Naval Group chairman and CEO Hervé Guillou said: “We are proud to have presented to the President of the French Republic the first submarine of the Barracuda-class, a symbol of our exceptional know-how and our ability to master the most advanced technologies and the most complex products.

“The construction of the Suffren is a collective success, the result of a strong cooperation with our long-standing partners: the French Navy and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), but also the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), TechnicAtome and all the manufacturers of the sector.

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“Now, we are all focused on finalising the Suffren tests at the shipyard, with the start-up of the nuclear boiler room in the coming weeks, but also on producing the complete series. Maintaining our knowledge and adapting to new technologies are among our main priorities.”

The company is responsible for the construction of the new submarines and the overall prime contractor of the vessel’s architecture.

Work includes the design and construction of the ship and information systems. Naval Group will also manufacture the main components of nuclear boiler rooms.

TechnicAtome is the prime contractor for the nuclear reactor of the submarine.

The Suffren-class vessels will provide the navy with a deep strike capability with MBDA’s naval cruise missiles (MdCN).

Set to feature advanced stealth and detection capabilities, Suffren will enable the discreet deployment of special forces underwater.

With a surface displacement of 4,700t and length of 99m, the submarine will be able to carry 65 crew members and commandos.

The vessel can be equipped with F21 heavyweight wire-guided torpedoes, modernised Exocet SM39 anti-ship missiles.