325 foot (99 meter) long Barracuda will have a displacement
of 4,765 tons when submerged. Driven by hybrid steam-electric
powerplant, based on a derivative of the K15 plant, which already
powers the SSBN and Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, it will
be able to maintain a submerged speed of up to 25 knots.
Compared with the crew of 70 in the current Rubis class, Barracuda
will accommodate a crew of 60 plus 15 passengers (for example,
special forces personnel). Reduction in the crew is made possible
by the introduction of highly automated platform management
system, and sophisticated data distribution network spanning
over most operational functions. Unlike conventional designs,
the aft section housing the nuclear powerplant and propulsion
systems will not be armed, further improving safety and survivability
of the platform. The design also features an X-shaped combination
of diving planes/control surfaces for improved underwater control.
The submarines will carry In 20 tube-launched weapons comprised
of a mix of various missiles and torpedoes. The primary land-attack
weapon will utilize the MDCN cruise missiles (SCALP Naval).
Anti-surface and anti-submarine weapons will comprise future
heavyweight torpedoes and the SM39 anti-ship missiles (Submarine-launched
Exocet). In addition to its anti-surface and anti-submarine
capabilities, the Barracuda will accommodate intelligence gathering
equipment and capabilities of deployment of special forces.
is designed with advanced 'stealth' capabilities, with reduced
acoustic and electromagnetic signatures. Its high ‘acoustic
speed’ (i.e. maximum speed at which self-radiated noise
is compatible with reliable detection of other submarines) offers
high agility and discretion, while a discreet communications
suite will make it low-signature, crisis control operations.
The interval between refueling and complex overhauls (RCOHs)
has been extended from seven to ten years, with just one intermediate
maintenance period per year. The hybrid steam-electric propulsion
technology proposed by DCN for the Barracuda program will use
a reactor core offering a lifetime of ten years. This system
uses a single steam drum with increased propulsion mode redundancy
to ensure economical core depletion, a high tactical speed and
improved safety. DCN is incorporating improved maintainability
into the Barracuda which will be designed for a nominal availability
of 240 days/year. This class will be the first French submarine
to use non-penetrating masts and periscopes, thereby giving
the naval architects greater freedom in positioning the sail
relative to the hull.
Within the DCN/Areva TA program consortium, DCN will act as
the submarine prime contractor, including responsibilities as
overall design, platform and propulsion system prime contractor,
systems integrator, nuclear safety studies coordinator and through-life
support prime contractor while Areva TA will act as prime contractor
for the nuclear powerplant. The total construction time for
each submarine will be 120 months (10 years).