French Navy Readies Veteran Nuclear Submarines for New Missions

The French navy's aging nuclear submarines, the Rubis-class, are being prepared for new missions, including escorting the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in a NATO operation. The article highlights France's commitment to NATO and the capabilities of its veteran submarines as it transitions to the more modern Suffren-class.

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Mahnoor Jehangir
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French Navy Readies Veteran Nuclear Submarines for New Missions

French Navy Readies Veteran Nuclear Submarines for New Missions

The French navy's veteran aging, nuclear, submarines , specifically the Rubis-class submarines based in Toulon, are being prepared for new missions. The Associated Press was granted rare access to one of these submarines as it was being readied for an upcoming mission in the Mediterranean.

The Rubis-class submarines, which have a crew of 70, are capable of carrying anti-submarine, anti-ship torpedoes, and anti-ship missiles. Powered by nuclear reactors, they can patrol the oceans for months without needing to refuel. These submarines can also be used to protect France's larger nuclear-armed submarines.

On an upcoming mission, the featured Rubis-class submarine will be escorting France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier as it participates in a NATO military operation in the Mediterranean. This will be the first time the French carrier strike group is under direct NATO command.

Why this matters: The deployment of the Rubis-class submarine alongside the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier demonstrates France's commitment to NATO operations and its ability to contribute to regional security in the Mediterranean. The rare access granted to journalists highlights the French navy's efforts to showcase the capabilities of its veteran aging nuclear-powered submarines.

France is in the process of replacing its Rubis-class submarines with more modern and heavily armed Suffren-class nuclear-powered attack submarines. The first Suffren-class submarine entered service in June 2022, and another one, the Duguay Trouin, joined the fleet this month. The remaining three Rubis-class submarines are expected to be retired by 2030 as the Suffren-class submarines continue to join the fleet.

The French military maintains secrecy around its nuclear, submarines, and journalists were asked to delete or crop some images to avoid revealing sensitive submarine technology and security measures. Despite the restrictions, the navy, rare, tour provided a glimpse into the capabilities and operations of these veteran submarines as they take on new missions to support France's naval forces and NATO activities in the region.

Key Takeaways

  • French navy's aging Rubis-class nuclear submarines prepared for new missions.
  • Rubis-class submarines to escort France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in NATO ops.
  • France replacing Rubis-class with more modern Suffren-class nuclear-powered attack subs.
  • First Suffren-class sub entered service in 2022, another joined in 2023.
  • French military maintains secrecy around nuclear submarine technology and operations.