French Navy Rubis class, SSN
The Nuclear Attack Submarines, SSNs, are designated in French SNA-`Sous-Marins Nucleaires d`Attaque`
The first attempt to build a nuclear powered attack submarine, by the Marine Nationale, date from 1954, when the first feasibility studies were begun. However, political friction between France and the US led the latter country to deny France the enriched uranium needed to fuel the reactor. Development of a heavy water reactor using natural uranium was therefore begun, but this proved to be too large and heavy for submarine installation. The French then attempted to purchase a complete submarine reactor from the US, but this request was also refused, and led to the abandonment of the project. French intrest in SSN construction was re-established with the authorization of a new type of boat in 1964, but this project was overtaken by the SSBN construction program, Le Redoutable class, which assumed priority.
By the time the Marine Nationale returned again to the SSN project in the early 1970s, its constructors could call upon the valuable experience gained in the course of the SSBN program. The result was an exceptionally compact design little bigger then the diesel-electric powered submarine of the Agosta class, and with many common elements with regard to weapons and sensors.
Specifications, Rubis class, Rubis S-601:
Displacement (srf/sub tons): 2,385/2,670
Dimensions (L*B*D feet): 236`5*24`9*21`0
Propulsion: 1*GEC Alsthom CAS-48 Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR), drives two turbo-alternators, which in turn provide the power for a single large Jeumont-Schneider 9,500hp electric motor, one screw
Speed (sub knots): 25
Range (srf/sub miles@knots): not relevant
Diving depth (feet): 985
Complement: 8 officers 62 enlisted
Missile: SSM (submarine launched anti-ship missiles) Aerospatiale SM 39 Exocet launched from the torpedo tubes.
Torpedo: 4*21" (533 mm) bow torpedo tubes, atotal mix of 18 torpedoes or Exocet missiles.
Mines: 32*FG-29 instead of torpedoes or missiles
Four boats were laid down by Cherbourg Naval Dockyards between December 1976 and March 1983; Rubis S-601, Saphir S-602, Casabianca S-603, E`meraude S-604, launched July 1979 to April 1986 and commissioned February 1983 to September 1988.
These boats replaced all older French SSN`s. Originally designed as anti-surface warfare subs they have undergone a modernization program called Amethyste (AMElioration Tactique HYdrodynamique Silense Transmission Ecoute) from 1989 to 1995 to bring them up to the standards of the Ame`thyste class.
They are one of the smallest SSNs and for this they have a very small reactor, but have a weapon load out comparable to some of the larger boats.
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