Association Technique Maritime et Aéronautique

Numéro : 2760 - Year : 2021

Hydrodynamic test of the first Barracuda class submarine

Pierre VONIER, Alain NÉDELLEC - Service Hydrodynamique – Naval Group SA – Lorient (France)

Josselin VERMARE, Romain LUQUET - Direction Générale de l’Armement – Paris et Val de Reuil (France)


The French Barracuda class is an innovative design of submarines from many points of view. Hydrodynamics is one of the most visible, considering for example the very full stern shape and the Xstern hydroplanes. DGA Hydrodynamics, DGA TN and Naval Group performed collectively a huge amount of studies to assess and optimise the nautical performance of this design through computations and model tests before building the first of class. This was also used to define a nominal safety operating envelope (SOE) for the submarine in case of failures (hydroplane failure or flooding).

However, special care had to be taken for the first dives of the Suffren for in such an innovative case, practical results could be different from theoretical ones. This has been achieved by introducing a restricted SOE, still allowing the submarine to reach progressively its maximum operating depth and its maximum speed, but with safety margins to allow for possible differences in behaviour in case of a failure.

A precise trial procedure has been defined and followed for progressively opening this restricted SOE. After the speed log has been calibrated on the full range of speed, precise manoeuvers have been performed to confirm the predicted behaviour and check the contract performance. A similar procedure has been followed when the Suffren has been fitted with a Dry Deck Shelter.


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