On October 20, 2020, the Suffren, the first of the six nuclear attack submarines (ANS) of the Barracuda program, successfully completed a Naval Cruise Missile (MdCN) test firing off the DGA Essais de Missiles site at Biscarrosse (Landes).
Florence Parly salutes this success: «For the first time, a French submarine has fired a cruise missile. This success gives our Navy a new strategic capability and places it among the best in the world. This new weapon is a real breakthrough, the fruit of years of effort and investment, notably permitted by the 2019-2025 military programming law. I congratulate all those – French Navy, DGA, industry – who made this firing possible. French submarine forces could hitherto strike submarines and surface ships. They can now destroy heavy land infrastructure at long ranges».
This firing enabled the qualification of the integration of all the armaments of the Suffren, carried out as part of the ship’s sea trials conducted by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) since last April.
This success marks an important stage in the tests of the Suffren with a view to its overall qualification by the DGA. Her delivery to the French Navy will take place by the end of 2020, before her admission to active service in 2021.
Prepared by teams from the DGA, the French Navy and the manufacturers MBDA and Naval Group, this test firing of the MdCN naval cruise missile is the latest milestone in a series of tests which has made it possible to verify the correct operation of the weapons and, more generally, of the combat system of the Suffren.
With a range of several hundred kilometers, the MdCN can attack and destroy infrastructure targets having a high strategic value. After the Multi-Mission Frigates (FREMM), the Suffren nuclear attack submarines are the first French submarines equipped with this conventional deep strike capability.
The ability to fire the MoNC from a submarine poses a constant and undetected threat of a strike from the sea against inland targets. It very significantly increases the penetration capability of French weapons in theaters of operations.
During her trials in the Mediterranean, Suffren also successfully carried out, off the DGA Missile Tests site based on the Île du Levant (Var), a test firing of an Exocet SM39-type anti-ship missile. She also carried out several test firings of the F21 heavy torpedo. This new-generation weapon is ultimately intended for all French Navy submarines.
The qualification of the entire Suffren weapons system paves the way for the end of sea trials and its overall qualification. This will allow her delivery to the French Navy for the verification of her military characteristics and then her admission to active service.