HomeFrench Barracuda SSN for Indian NavyIndia wants to procure 3 Barracuda class SSN after AUKUS Pact, as...

India wants to procure 3 Barracuda class SSN after AUKUS Pact, as stopgap measure until indigenous SSNs comes out

Source : Indian Defence Analysis

India wants to procure 3 Barracuda class SSN after AUKUS Pact, as stopgap measure until indigenous SSNs comes out
French Barracuda class nuclear attack submarine (SSN) Suffren

India wants to procure 3 Barracuda class SSN after AUKUS Pact, as stopgap measure until indigenous SSNs comes out

As per reports from the Hindustan Times, In the backdrop of the AUKUS alliance involving US and UK nuclear-powered submarines patrolling the west coast of Australia and beyond as soon as 2027, India is looking to upgrade its submarine fleet with three nuclear-powered conventional weapon-armed submarines in collaboration with France on lines of the latest 4765-ton Barracuda class. The offer of Barracuda class submarine has been on table for discussion in December 2021, during the French Defense minister Florence Parly meeting with her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh.

The French offer of nuclear submarines to India opened up after the forging of AUKUS group by US, UK and Australia to deter China and provide nuclear submarine to Australia. The offer for the Barracuda is the consequence of regular deep consultations with France to deepen military cooperation. This is the first time that a nuclear-powered attack submarine technology would be offered to India.

Why India needs nuclear attack submarines (SSN)?

Acquiring the deep technology for SSNs has been a priority for India for many years. The indigenous programme for six SSNs is still in the design stage. India navy presently have no nuclear attack submarine or SSNs in possession after the return of INS chakra 2.

Navy has signed a contract worth 3 billion Dollar with Russia for leasing another Akula class submarine namely INS Chakra 3 which is slated to enter into service by 2026. Lack of SSN is a big capability gap for Indian Navy.

Taking this opportunity, lets try to understand the capabilities and features of the Barracuda class submarine.

Barracuda submarine – a gentle introduction

The Barracuda class (or Suffren class) submarine is produced by the French Naval Group. It is a class of submarine which is nuclear-powered but not nuclear armed, but it is the most formidable sea denial weapon. This submarine can remain submerged for months and has a powerful land attack capability with the 1,000-km-range Scalp Naval cruise missile. The submarine needs to be refuelled every 10 years once.

The submarine can perform variety of missions which includes anti-surface and fast deep anti-submarine warfare, land attack using SCALP Naval cruise missiles, surveillance and intelligence gathering, crisis management and special operations.

Barracuda submarine – specifications

The Barracuda class submarine has a displacement of about 4,765 t when surfaced & 5,300t when submerged. The ship design incorporates a range of stealth technologies to minimise the acoustic, magnetic, radar and visual signatures. The submarine is included with Thales DIVESAT communications mast with SYRACUSE satellite link.

The Nuclear-electric propulsion (NEP) of submarine includes 150MW pressure water reactor, 2X10MW turbogenerators, 2X480kW emergency generators and a pumpjet. It has max speed of 25kn when submerged. It can submerge to max depth of 350m.

The submarine is fitted with four 533 mm torpedo tubes and twenty weapons storage positions. The SSN is able to deploy variety of weapons such as: F21 Torpedo, Exocet SM39 Block 2 Mod 2 Anti-ship missile, MdCN (naval cruise missile), FG29 mines.

The torpedo tubes are fitted with water ram weapon discharge. The submarine will carry new heavyweight torpedoes like Black Shark.

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