Rubis-class submarine

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FS Casabianca 03.jpg
Casabianca in April 2005
Class overview
Name: Rubis class
Builders: DCNS
Operators:  Marine Nationale
Preceded by: Daphné class
Succeeded by: Barracuda class
In commission: 23 February 1983
Planned: 8
Completed: 6
Cancelled: 2
General characteristics
Type: Nuclear attack submarine
  • 2400 t (surfaced)
  • 2600 t (submerged)
Length: 73.6 m (241 ft)
Beam: 7.6 m (25 ft)
Draught: 6.4 m (21 ft)
  • Pressurised water K48 nuclear reactor (48 MW (64,000 hp)) ; 2 turbo-alternators ; 1 electric engine (7 MW (9,400 hp)); one propeller
  • 1 diesels-alternators SEMT Pielstick 8 PA 4V 185 SM - one auxiliary engine, 5 MW (6,700 hp).
Speed: over 25 kn (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: Unlimited distance; 20–25 years
  • 10 officers
  • 52 warrant officers
  • 8 petty officers
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • DMUX 20 active/passive sonar
  • ETBF DSUV 62C towed array passive sonar
  • DSUV 22 passive cylindrical array sonar with active transducer
  • DRUA 33 radar
  • ARUR 13

The Rubis type is a class of first-generation nuclear attack submarines of the French Navy. The class comprises six vessels and they are the most compact nuclear attack submarines to date. All submarines of the class (except for Casabianca) are named after gemstones.


Although the Rubis class belonged to the same generation as the Redoutable, due to President Charles De Gaulle's insistence on acquiring a nuclear deterrent for France, the Rubis program was started only in 1974, after the ballistic missile submarine program. The first Rubis hull was laid down in December 1976 and launched in 1979.

In 1987, the Canadian White Paper on Defence recommended the purchase of 10 to 12 Rubis or Trafalgar-class submarines under technology transfer.[2] with the choice of the type of submarine due to be confirmed before Summer 1988.[3] The goal was to build up a three-ocean navy and to assert Canadian sovereignty over Arctic waters.[4] The purchase was finally abandoned in April 1989.


The initial design of the Rubis proved to be problematic with unexpectedly high noise levels. This led to the Améthyste silencing program (AMÉlioration Tactique HYdrodynamique Silence Transmission Ecoute, literally Silent Acoustic Transmission Tactical Hydrodynamic Amelioration) which was applied to the fifth (S605 Améthyste) and sixth (S606 Perle) hulls.

Améthyste and Perle were both longer that the original Rubis, 73.6 metres (241 ft) as compared with 72 metres (236 ft) and the program included upgrades to the sonar, reshaping of the hull form and bow to improve silencing and additional upgrades of the electronics. With the upgrades tested and proven, the original 4 boats were rebuilt to the same standards between 1989 to 1995.


They have a central computer system for submarine detection, processing of information, and firing of weapons. The hull is made of 80 HLES high elasticity steel. The sonar dome and the conning tower are made of composite materials. The submarines have two crews, "Blue" and "Red", who man the ships every three months in turn.

They will be succeeded by the 2nd-generation Barracuda class.

Operational history

On 20 August 1993, Rubis collided with the oil tanker Lyria.[5] On 30 March 1994, Émeraude had a steam leakage, suffering 10 casualties.

During the Péan inter-allied manoeuvres of 1998, Casabianca managed to "sink" the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and her Ticonderoga-class escort cruiser.[6]

During COMPTUEX 2015, an exercice led by the US Navy, Saphir successfully defeated the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its escort, managing to "sink" the US carrier. This was widely advertised by the French Navy but unmentioned by the US Navy.[7]



  1. "SSN Rubis Amethyste Class, France". Retrieved 22 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Challenge and Commitment: A Defence Policy for Canada (PDF). Ottawa: Department of National Defence (Canada). 1987. p. 89. ISBN 0-660-12509-9. Retrieved 23 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Defence Update 1988-89 (PDF). Ottawa: Department of National Defence (Canada). 1989. ISBN 0-662-55733-6. Retrieved 23 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Keith Spicer (10 September 2007). "Canada's Arctic claims". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 22 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Simons, Marlis (August 1993). "Oil Spills as Nuclear Sub Hits a Tanker Off France". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Sous-marin nucléaire d'attaque Casabianca" (in French). 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2014.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Lagneau, Laurent (4 March 2015). "Un sous-marin nucléaire d'attaque français a fictivement coulé le porte-avions USS Theodore Roosevelt". (in French). Retrieved 18 May 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links