France Announces Return of Nuclear Attack Submarine After Catastrophic Accident

The French Navy has announced that its nuclear attack submarine Perle is now back in service after a catastrophic accident in 2020.

The Ruby-class sub had been unavailable during repairs after catching fire in a dry dock at Toulon naval base.

The incident damaged the front half of the submarine, and French shipbuilder Naval Group was contracted to restore it.

During the restoration, the Perle received a number of upgrades, including the capability to fire F21 heavyweight torpedoes initially designed for Suffren-class submarines.

The vehicle’s damaged front half was also replaced by the front of a decommissioned sister submarine.

The newly-repaired Perle left dry dock in November 2022 and underwent a series of dockside and sea trials.

The Accident

First produced in the 1970s, the Ruby-class Perle is described as one of the world’s “most compact” nuclear-powered submarines.

It is 73.6 meters (241 foot) long and weighs 2,500 tons.

The submarine caught fire while undergoing major renovations, and the 14-hour blaze damaged the steel hull, rendering it unusable.

Although the incident was catastrophic, the section housing the nuclear power plant and propulsion was undamaged.

The French Navy said the submarine had been inspected by all necessary authorities before returning to normal operations.

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