This large-scale operation is the first step in the repair process for the Perle, after the fire suffered on June 12 while in dry dock in Toulon during her Periodic Downtime for Maintenance and Repair (IPER).
Le sous-marin nucléaire d’attaque Perle a quitté la base navale de Toulon ce jeudi 10/12 pour être transporté vers Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, à bord du navire spécialisé semi-submersible RollDock Storm. pic.twitter.com/mMdrFubkHG— Marine nationale (@MarineNationale) December 10, 2020
Organized in coordination by the French Navy and the Fleet Support Service (SSF) on the one hand, and manufacturer Naval Group on the other, the transfer and repair of the Perle SNA will make it possible to maintain the operational capacity of the Strategic Oceanic Force (FOST) at its nominal level.
This transfer follows the decision taken on October 22, 2020 by Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, to repair the SNA Perle. The front part of the submarine having been damaged by the fire, the solution adopted will consist in replacing it with the bow section of her sister-ship Saphir, which was retired from active service in the summer of 2019.
This repair will make it possible to maintain the format of the Navy’s nuclear attack fleet.
The transfer of the SNA Perle from Toulon to Cherbourg is necessary because only the latter's infrastructures allow this extensive work to be carried out.
"The embarkation of the SNA Perle aboard the Storm and its departure for Cherbourg symbolically marks the beginning of her recovery. After repairs, the submarine will have regained its technical potential and will be fully operational until the scheduled date of its withdrawal from active service while maintaining the format of the six-submarine SSN fleet,” explains DGA Gen. Guillaume de Garidel, central director of the fleet support service. The Rubis-class SSNs are being gradually replaced by the Barracuda-class SSNs, the lead ship of which, Suffren, is now completing her sea trials.
Le SNA Perle est transféré aujourd’hui de Toulon à Cherbourg via un navire spécialisé, le RollDock Storm. Le chargement, l’amarrage du sous-marin dans le navire (accorage) sont une 1ère étape dans le processus de sa réparation. Revivez cette manœuvre hautement complexe ⬇ pic.twitter.com/1YbN5Nh7GL— Marine nationale (@MarineNationale) December 10, 2020
The cutting, hull welding and connection work will be carried out in Cherbourg. Perle will then return to Toulon where the submarine will resume her IPER availability that was interrupted by the fire in June.
These repairs, although exceptional, are a controlled industrial operation. Operations of this kind have in fact already been carried out on submarine hulls, in France and abroad. They will be carried out while respecting all the conditions necessary for the safety and operational capacity of the submarine.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Perle will also be retrofitted with the sail of Rubis, the French website Mer & Marine reported today quoting DGA Gen. Guillaume de Garidel, head of the Fleet Support Service.)