January 26, 2018

French Mini-Sub Likely to be used for Australia's Future Submarine

French Special Forces-External Intelligence Directorate (DGSE) "Propulseur Sous-Marins 3rd  Generation (PSM3G) for fitting on top of French Barracuda-Suffren Class SSNs and Australian Future Subs (SSKs). (Diagram and further background courtesy H. I. Sutton's Covert Shores).

Noting much equipment on Australia's Future Submarine will be specifically compatible with France's Barracuda-Suffren class SSN DefenseNews reports January 25, 2017, in part:

"PARIS ― The head of France’s special forces has presented a wish list to lawmakers that includes a modified NH90 helicopter and a mini-submarine to complement the Barracuda nuclear attack submarine."


Naval special forces are “waiting impatiently for entry into service of the PSM3G in 2018,” he noted. That is a third-generation, propelled mini-submarine that would work in conjunction with the Barracuda submarine.

That mini-sub would work with the Mistral projection and command ship as an interim measure, he said. “The PSM3G is a rare and immediately available capability effective against the famous ‘area-denial’ threat — the special forces have to be able to get close to an enemy coast to call in a strike,” he said.

The mini-submarine is a relatively large unit, capable of being launched from the Barracuda while submerged, he explained. “They are undetected from departure to return from the mission; that is, to say, an intelligence-gathering mission without being seen, without a signature, without particular risk and with an impressive efficiency,” he said.

The particularly high-performing mini-submarine, according to Isnard, would be fully autonomous, run on battery power and have a navigation system.

...[also significant] The Suffren, the first-of-class Barracuda boat, [laid down 2007!] is due for delivery in 2019 - a year late."


Anonymous said...

Unsure how a mini sub with a rather short range can be a viable response to area denial. When we talk about A2AD, it essentially bogs down to China. There is zero chance any French special forces (or any other Special from any country) to survive past a few hours after insertion into China (or even NK). Where French special forces historically operate (in Africa), there is no sea or A2Ad to remotely worry about. Besides, a mini sub can equally be picked up by Chinese sensors and in no time there is a Klub like torpedo coming.

Peter Coates said...


Who is arging area-denial (not a mini-sub's job) or insertion into China/Hong Kong? Not me.

A scenario could be:

- A Barracuda mothersub, in say 100m deeper water and say 10 km from the shore, may

- then drop off a PSM3G mini-sub (or can be called a "diver delivery vehicle") to travel the 10 km without exhausting the 4 to 6 divers and some gear (eg. demolition charge(s)),

- then PSM3G drops of the divers in 3m of water, who then swim up to the beach.

Many possible missions in north or central Africa or MIDDLE EAST.



Peter Coates said...

Further Scenario:

PSM3G dropped off French SEALs doing initial reconnaissance for freeing hostages from Muslim terrorist camps in Africa or Middle East, etc. Before or in conjunction with French and/or US helicopter assault.