France, like Britain maintains a small fleet of submarines covering the full gamut of capabilities. The Redoubtable class nuclear powered Ballistic Missile submarines (SSBN) provide much of France’s strategic deterrence, the Rubis class nuclear powered fleet boats (SSN) provide operational flexibility while the small diesel powered Agosta class (SSK) provide the ability to operate in shallow coastal waters.
Redoutable Class: These SSBN (SNLE in French) form the naval arm of the French strategic nuclear triad. The lead boat Redoutable is in reserve while the five remaining boats have been heavily upgraded (Foudroyant completed in 1993) to fire the much improved M4 Ballistic missile with six MIRV (Multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle) warheads of 150 Kilotons. Generally, two boats are on patrol, one is refitting and the other two are preparing for patrol at all times. The replacement class of SSBNs Le Triomphant, is under construction and the five remaining Redoutable class will retire as the four new boats are commissioned beginning in 1997.
Rubis Class: The smallest SSNs ever built, they are based on the same hull design as the Agosta class SSK with a French designed reactor. Initially four boats were built in the 1980s with four improved Amethyste Class ordered but only two commissioned in 1992 and 1993. All four of the original boats were upgraded with equivalent systems and hull design to the Amethyste boats, the last is still undergoing that refit. In Northern Fury, the last two Amethyste boats have not been canceled and are still building. In addition to torpedoes, these boats can fire the Exocet Anti-Ship Missile (ASM)
|S 601||Rubis||Rubis||Active||Mediterranean||Foch BG|
|S 602||Rubis||Saphire||Active||Indian Ocean||CTF 151|
|S 605||Amethyste||Amethyste||Active||Pacific||New Caledonia|
|S 606||Amethyste||Perle||Active||Atlantic||Bay of Biscay|
|S 607||Amethyste||Turquoise||Building||March 94|
|S 608||Amethyste||Diamant||Building||June 95|
Agosta class: These small, maneuverable and very quiet boats represent the last conventionally powered submarines built by France. Their four torpedo tubes are unique, they can operate quietly at any depth and speed and have all been refitted to fire the Exocet ASM. La Praya has the capacity to fit a removable swimmer delivery compartment, similar to the US Dry Dock Shelter (DDS)
|S 620||Agosta||Agosta||Active||Atlantic||Bay of Biscay|
|S 621||Agosta||Bévéziers||Active||Adriatic||Op Sharp Guard|
|S 622||Agosta||La Praya||Active||Port|