In a ceremony presided over by Admiral Nicolas Vaujour, Chief of Staff of the French Navy, the nuclear attack submarine (SNA) Duguay-Trouin was officially commissioned into active service on Thursday, 4 April, 2024.

The Duguay-Trouin becomes the second in a series of six Suffren-class submarines intended to replace the entire fleet of Rubis-class submarines by 2030.

The French government ordered six new Suffren-class SSN vessels from Naval Group for a total cost of €10.4bn ($12.4bn), or €1.3bn ($1.6bn) per submarine, according to GlobalData’s intelligence on the French defence market.

The submarine’s journey to active duty began with sea trials initiated in March 2023, culminating in its formal admission following the Verification of Military Characteristics (VCM) phases. These trials enabled crews to test the vessel’s performance, endurance, and equipment compliance with specified standards. Notably, the Duguay-Trouin navigated through cold and warm waters, including a stopover in Fort-de-France in March 2024, a first for a Suffren-class submarine.

With its induction into operational service, the Duguay-Trouin, akin to its predecessor Suffren, will undertake missions akin to the Rubis-class submarines but with enhanced capabilities. These include the ability to strike land targets with Naval Cruise Missiles (MdCN) and deploy special forces through swimmer lockout chambers and a hangar deck.

In collaboration with the French Navy, the Naval Group secured a multi-million-euro contract spanning over three years to conduct operational maintenance on the Rubis and Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines. Meanwhile, the French Navy announced last year the return of its Ruby-class SSN, Perle, to the operational cycle after undergoing maintenance and repairs following a fire incident in June 2020. 

The Submarine Force, comprising 3200 sailors, is equipped with ten nuclear submarines, including six SSNs and four SSBNs, which ensure national security and stability.

Since 1972, at least one SSBN has remained at sea, ensuring continuous deterrence capability across the world’s oceans. Meanwhile, SSNs like the Duguay-Trouin are versatile assets, combining combat with reach. Their versatility enables roles from supporting nuclear deterrence to protecting naval task forces and conducting strikes and special operations.

Within the last year, France’s commitment to maritime defence modernisation has been evident, with the recent commencement of the construction of France’s first third-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SNLE 3G) at Cherbourg shipyard. This initiative, expected to remain in service until 2080-90, will replace the ageing Le Triomphant-class submarines. In parallel, Naval Group, in collaboration with TechnicAtome and the CEA, celebrates the rollout of the third Suffren-class nuclear attack submarine, Tourville

As France strengthens its maritime capabilities, the commissioning of the Duguay-Trouin reveals the nation’s commitment to maintaining a naval force capable of safeguarding its interests and contributing to international security.