French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly welcomes the successful first naval cruise missile launch by the Suffren nuclear attack submarine
On October 20, 2020, the Suffren, the first of the six nuclear attack submarines of the BARRACUDA programme, successfully completed a Naval Cruise Missile (MdCN, Missile de Croisière Naval) test firing off the DGA missiles test site at Biscarrosse (Landes).
Florence Parly salutes this success: “For the first time, a French submarine fires a cruise missile. This success gives our Navy a new strategic capability and places it among the best in the world. This new weaponry 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. The French submarine force could hitherto strike submarines and surface ships. It can now destroy heavy land infrastructure at long range.”
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 in view of its overall qualification by the DGA. Its delivery to the French Navy will take place by the end of 2020, before its commissioning in 2021.
Prepared by teams of the DGA, the French Navy, and the MBDA and Naval Group manufacturers, this test firing of the MdCN naval cruise missile is the latest milestone in a series of tests which allowed to verify the correct operation of the weapons and, more generally, of the Suffren combat system.
With a range of several hundred kilometers, the MdCN is suitable for destruction missions of high strategic value infrastructure. After the Multi-Mission Frigates (FREMM), the SNA Suffren are the first French submarines equipped with this conventional deep strike capability. The ability to deploy the MdNC from a submarine represents for the opponent a constant and undetected threat of a strike from the sea on targets inland. It very significantly increases the penetration capacity of French weapons in theaters of operations.
During its trials in the Mediterranean, the 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. . He 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 weapon system paves the way for the end of sea trials and its overall qualification. This will authorize its delivery to the French Navy for the verification of its military characteristics followed by its commissioning.
Source French Ministry of the Armed Forces
Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Photo courtesy DGA