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Duguay-Trouin: France's next-generation submarine nears operational readiness.

| Naval News Navy 2024

The French Naval Forces are nearing the completion of testing for the "Duguay-Trouin", the second nuclear-powered attack submarine of the Suffren class under the Barracuda program, a crucial step before it is declared ready for active service. Announced last August by the General Directorate for Armament (DGA), the delivery of this submarine to the Navy marked a significant milestone, though the submarine has since maintained a low profile, in line with the customary secrecy surrounding the movements of nuclear submarines.
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Duguay Trouin Frances Next Generation Submarine Nears Operational ReadinessDuguay-Trouin nuclear attack submarine during sea trials (Picture source: French MoD)

Following a technical stop at the Rota Naval Base in Spain, the "Duguay-Trouin" proceeded to Toulon, its home port, for a first maintenance break aimed at refining its full operational capability after intensive sea trials conducted during the first half of 2023. Initiated in March 2023, the sea trials were designed to test the submarine's various systems and equipment. Managed by the DGA in collaboration with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and in close partnership with the French Navy and industry partners Naval Group and TechnicAtome, the trials included static dives and surface and submersion tests to verify the functionality of its combat system.

However, the submarine's official commissioning awaits the completion of an extended deployment (DLD), intended to thoroughly test its military capabilities in various environments, from cold to warm waters. Currently, the Duguay-Trouin is making a stopover in Fort-de-France, Martinique, until March 9, as part of its DLD. This exceptional presence necessitates enhanced security measures, including prohibiting anchoring, fishing, swimming, and diving within a 300-meter radius of the submarine, as well as restrictions on gas transport truck movements nearby.

The outcome of this DLD is crucial for the "Duguay-Trouin's" future operational career. Should it proceed successfully, without incidents akin to those experienced by the "Suffren" (its predecessor suffered from a turbine leak), the submarine will soon actively join the fleet. These vessels incorporate major technological advancements from the Rubis class experience, notably in terms of maneuverability thanks to their X-shaped rudder and offensive capability with the naval cruise missile (MdCN), enabling discreet coastal approaches for precise strikes. Moreover, the "Suffren" features a small submarine (the PSM3G) for the covert deployment of commandos, representing a significant conceptual breakthrough compared to its predecessors.

With the introduction of this second submarine, the renewal of the SNA fleet continues, strengthening France's mastery of maritime spaces. Following the delivery of the Suffren to the French Navy in November 2020 and that of the Duguay-Trouin, the other four submarines of the Barracuda program (Tourville, de Grasse, Rubis, and Casabianca) are currently at various stages of construction. Their deliveries will span until 2030, in line with the Military Programming Law 2024-2030.

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