French President Emmanuel Macron attended the completion ceremony of new Barracuda class first nuclear-powered submarine in the port city of Cherbourg on Friday. With the nine-billion-euro project, France intends to assert itself in the small circle of nuclear maritime powers alongside America, Russia and China. “We live in an unstable world. Deployment is essential, “said Macron. Addressing the employees of the company “Naval Group”, he added: “They not only build submarines, but also secure our independence!”
The first submarine in the series bears the name of a famous warlord of the sea, the French admiral Pierre Andre de Suffren, whom the English had christened “Admiral Satan”. After the completion of state-of-the-art “Suffren” and until 2029 five more submarines of the Barracuda class will be completed. French president Macron revealed in his speech at Cherbourg ceremony. Previously, there had been uncertainty as to whether the French defense budget would have enough funding for the project.
For the French defense and security policy of the next decades, the 5300 ton U-boats are of great importance. Secretary of Defense Florence Parly said on Friday, the Barracudas can fire cruise missiles from high seas to targets 1000 kilometers range. For the first time also naval female soldiers are on board, there is enough cabin space for separate sleeping units. The French navy has allowed mixed teams since 2014. The defense minister indicated that France’s new submarine capacity will help deepen its role as a military leader in European defense cooperation. The “Suffren” has a much greater range and a quieter drive than the previous models.
In the Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) group of companies, it is still remembered how France secured a century-long business in Australia with a variant of the Barracuda U-boats with conventional drive and outperformed the German competition. In February Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison signed the largest arms deal in the history of his country, worth around 30 billion euros. The majority owned by the French state “Naval Group” will build until the beginning of 2030 twelve attack submarines of the Barracuda class for Australia. Macron recalled this in his speech in the presence of Australian Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds in Cherbourg. The cooperation between France and Australia is not only industrial, but there is a security partnership between the two countries.
This is also the reason why Germany fell behind in the awarding of contracts, according to Paris. The Federal Government could not offer Australia an equal partnership. Thyssenkrupp’s reputation had also suffered due to the temporarily unusable submarine fleet of the German Navy. Macron celebrated on Friday the modernization efforts of the French armed forces, which were still initiated under its predecessors. “Modernization is not just an intention, it is now a fact,” said Macron.