On October 20, 2020, the Suffren, the first of six nuclear attack submarines (SSN) to be built under the Barracuda program, successfully completed a test firing of a Missile de Croisière Naval (MdCN) naval cruise missile off the DGA Essais de Missiles site at Biscarrosse (Landes).
French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly salutes this success: “For the first time, a French submarine fired a cruise missile. This success gives our Navy a new strategic capability and places it among the best in the world. This novel armament is a real breakthrough, the fruit of years of effort and investments, in particular permitted by the military programming law 2019-2025. 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 range."
This firing enabled the qualification of the integration of all the weapons 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 milestone in the trials 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 correct operation weapons and, more generally, of the combat system of the Suffren.
With a range of several hundred kilometers, the MdCN is suitable for long-range attack missions against high-value strategic infrastructure. After the Multi-Mission Frigates (FREMM), the Suffren SSNs are the first French submarines equipped with this conventional deep strike capability. The ability to fire the MdCN from a submarine poses the constant and undetected threat of a strike from the sea on inland targets. It very significantly increases the penetration capacity of French weapons in theaters of operations.
During its tests in the Mediterranean, the Suffren also successfully carried out, off the DGA Missile Test 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 launches 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 her sea trials and its overall qualification. This will authorize its delivery to the French Navy for the verification of its military characteristics and then its admission to active service.