Le Saphir, French nuclear submarine, will be dismantled in Cherbourg

This is the second in the series of six French nuclear attack submarines. A member of the Rubis class, this technological gem will lay down its arms after 35 years of loyal service.


The nuclear attack submarine, Saphir, registration 602, is heading home. The nuclear attack submarine built in Cherbourg in 1979 is undertaking its last voyage. Having left June 21 from Toulon, it docked on July 3 in the military port of Cotentin. Naval Group announces that it will be denuclearized before being deconstructed, which is a first for a submarine of its class. As part of the process of renewing nuclear submarines, the Barracudas are poised for action, ready to take over from the old generation of nuclear attack submarines. Wasting no time, the Suffren, the first of the new nuclear attack submarines, will be launched this summer.


While being armed between 82 and 84, the Sapphire was awaited impatiently. The classic submarines, slow and not very discrete nor autonomous, had had their day. Nuclear power is modernizing diesel-electric propulsion and the so-called "running dog" will fulfill its mission well. With the SSBNs (nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarine) and the nuclear attack submarines, the army finally has an offensive arsenal to wage war at sea, like the Americans and the Russians.


Irreproachable service! Able to sail 220 days / year, Le Saphir spent 13 years under water. With its two crews of 75 men, it traveled six times the distance from the Earth to the moon and never failed in its mission. It launched the first Exocet missiles and tested the detection devices of the new fleet. In 2012, it was awarded honors along with its crew for participating in Operation Harmattan during the Libyan War.


The Rubis fleet was designed to sail for 25 years. It has largely exceeded its objectives and Le Saphir can be retired from service. It will be necessary to first remove the nuclear core and the dismantling will follow a long and rigorous protocol. Leaving the merchant marine to join the Directorate General of Armament, it can enjoy its retirement alongside Le Redoutable, undisputed flagship of the City of the Sea .

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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1 - 04/07/2019