DCNS outlines an AIP design based on the nuclear powered Barracuda

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DCNS is introducing the SMX Ocean – a new submarine concept based on the hull of the nuclear powered ‘Barracuda’ – the next generation SSN of the French Navy. The SMX Ocean will be fitted with a conventional propulsion system (SSK) with AIP technology.

Developing this concept DCNS engineers focused on endurance and high sustained speed. The 4,700 tons SSK was designed for an endurance of 14,000 nautical miles (3 months autonomy) and a continuous transit speed of 14 knots for 1 week using the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system fitted with two fuel cells. The original nuclear propulsion system of the Barracuda design was also replaced with six diesel engines and three sets of Li Ion batteries.

Two thruster pods are deployable at the bottom of the hull to allow the submarine will enable the submarine to manoeuvre even while the main screw is not in action. The X rudder design is the same as on the Barracuda, also allowing increased manoeuvrability.

The SMX OCEAN SSK is fitted with one large modular Vertical Launch System tube that may vertically launch up to six MdCN cruise missiles. The submarine may also deploy F21 heavy torpedoes, SM39 Block 2 anti-ship missiles and a submarine launched version of the Mica missile for submarine self protection against aerial attack (A3SM Underwater Vehicle Version).