France: nuclear attack submarine Perle returns to operational cycle

By Defence Industry Europe

The French Navy's nuclear attack submarine (SSN) Perle has successfully completed its maintenance and repair period after a thorough sea trial process, marking its return to the operational cycle. The ship, which underwent extensive repairs following a severe fire incident in June 2020, has now been deemed technically compliant and capable of safe navigation while diving.

A committee consisting of representatives from the French Directorate General for Armaments (DGA), the Fleet Support Service (SSF), the Permanent Commission for Programs and Tests (CPPE), and the Nuclear Attack Submarine Squadron (ESNA) validated the technical compliance of the Perle, affirming its readiness for operational duty.

The maintenance and repair period for the SSN Perle began in 2019 but was interrupted by the unfortunate fire incident while the submarine was in dry dock in June 2020. Unprecedented repair work was carried out on the Naval Group site in Cherbourg, employing a novel procedure that had never been utilized before. Subsequently, the submarine resumed its maintenance and repair in Toulon towards the end of 2021.



Dockside tests commenced on November 10, 2022, after the vessel left the basin, followed by sea trials in May 2023. The sea trials included a significant milestone on May 22, when the Perle conducted its first static dive in the harbor of Toulon.

Notably, modifications were made to the Perle during the maintenance and repair period, enabling it to launch the F21 torpedo, which will arm its successor, the Suffren-class SSN. As part of the operational qualifications, the crew will conduct a practice firing of the F21 torpedo.

The successful completion of the maintenance and repair period has extended the operational service life of the Perle until 2028.



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