STUTTGART, Germany — France’s newest nuclear-powered attack submarine has entered its final testing phase before a planned delivery to the military this year.

The SSN Duguay-Trouin, part of the Barracuda class of next-generation, nuclear-powered subs, began its sea trials in late March at the Cherbourg naval base in Normandy, France, according to the French Armed Forces Ministry and the shipbuilder Naval Group.

Once several months of trials end, the French Navy should receive the boat in summer 2023.

After an initial test leg in the English Channel and a return to Cherbourg, the Duguay-Trouin will undergo multiple tests in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the ministry said in a March 28 news release. During the sea trials, the submarine will remain the property of Naval Group and TechnicAtome, the manufacturer of the nuclear reactor, while operating under the command of the Navy.

The first Barracuda-class submarine, SSN Suffren, was delivered in 2021 and entered service in June 2022. The program, launched in 2006 to replace the 1980s-era Rubis-class subs currently in service, is run jointly by the French military procurement agency DGA as well as the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, which oversees the nuclear boilers segment.

Four submarines in the Barracuda class are in various stages of development, according to Naval Group. The Tourville, De Grasse, Rubis, and Casabianca are scheduled for delivery no later than 2030, and the class is set to serve the Navy into the 2060s. This submarine type is to be stealthier than its predecessors and capable of firing cruise missiles at faraway targets.

Among its capabilities, the Barracuda-class submarines will provide the Navy with a deep-strike capability via MBDA naval cruise missiles. They are also equipped with Naval Group’s F21 heavyweight torpedo and MBDA’s Exocet SM39 anti-ship missile.

The boats were designed to allow the “discreet deployment” of special forces divers underwater, according to Naval Group, with a “divers hatch” and the option to carry a dry deck shelter, allowing for the deployment of underwater vehicles.

Vivienne Machi is a reporter based in Stuttgart, Germany, contributing to Defense News' European coverage. She previously reported for National Defense Magazine, Defense Daily, Via Satellite, Foreign Policy and the Dayton Daily News. She was named the Defence Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2020.

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