French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled France’s latest nuclear-powered ‘Barracuda’ class submarine on Friday, a €9 billion stealth vessel programme Paris says is key to maintaining its naval presence for decades to come.
“France is a country of the longterm that knows that the biggest successes are those that come over time from experience of proven know-how over the years,” Macron said as he unveiled the submarine.
Addressing those who worked on the submarines, Macron said: “they are not just submarines that you are building here. What you are building is really the independence of France. What you are building is our sovereignty.”
The Suffren was presented in her dry dock in Cherbourg. Macron said the first French submarine had also been launched in Cherbourg in 1899.
The 99-metre long black steel submarine was partially covered in the colours of the French flag.
The French government has placed an order for six of the 5,000-tonne submarines made by Naval Group, in which defence company Thales has a 35 percent stake.
The Australian defence minister Linda Reynolds attended the ceremony unveiling the submarine. Australia recently ordered a non-nuclear attack class submarine fleet from the Naval Group.