:: RUBIS CLASS (1979-1990) ::

Rubis class attack submarine S 601 Rubis (1979) High resolution picture

Unlike other countries, France did not focus into the production of SSN until having finished its SSBN/SLBM program. Because of this the first unit of the Rubis class was not laid down until December 1976. The vessels of this class are the smallest of their kind in any Navy, which indicate a notable evolution in the French design of nuclear reactors. The propulsion plant is a complex one, comprising a nuclear-powered turbo-electric group which feeds a 9400-horsepower main electric motor and a Diesel-electric group which feeds a 6700-horsepower auxiliary electric motor. The system is similar to that formerly adopted in the Le Redoutable class.

Also similar was the design of the hull with its unusual blunt shape on the bow. This caused high noise emissions, leading to the Améthyste silencing program which was initially applied to the fifth and sixth hulls, S 605 and S 606. The program included the reshaping of the hull form, specially in the bow, which since then acquired the habitual tear-drop shape. After the upgrades were well tested, the other four vessels were rebuilt to the same standards between 1989 and 1995. Meanwhile, from 1985 onwards the Rubis class was prepared to launch the SM-39 Exocet antiship missile.

Rubis class: 6 units (S 601 Rubis (ex Provence), S 602 Saphir (ex Bretagne), S 603 Casabianca (ex Bourgogne), S 604 Émeraude, S 605 Améthyste, S 606 Perle)

Type: Nuclear-powered attack submarine

Length: 72.1 meters (original); 73.6 meters (after rebuilt)

Beam: 7.6 meters

Draught: 6.4 meters

Displacement (surfaced): 2385 tonnes

Displacement (submerged): 2670 tonnes

Propulsion: 1 x shaft, 1 x electric motor 9400 horsepower, 1 x turbo-electric group, 1 x nuclear reactor 48 megawatt, 1 x auxiliary electric motor 6700 horsepower, 1 x auxiliary Diesel-electric group 480 kilowatt

Speed (surfaced): 15 knots (27.78 kilometers/hour)

Speed (submerged): over 25 knots (46.3 kilometers/hour)

Range: Theoretically unlimited; 45-60 days of endurance

Operational depth: 300 meters

Complement: 70

Armament: 4 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube, 14 x torpedo/missile (L5 or F17 torpedo, SM-39 Exocet antiship missile from 1985) or 32 x mine

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