Repairs completed on French Navy submarine damaged in 2020 fire incident

Photo: Naval Group

French shipbuilder the Naval Group has handed over the Rubis-class nuclear-powered attack submarine Perle back to the French Navy following an extensive repair program that lasted over two years.

The Naval Group’s Cherbourg facilities were used for the repairs on Perle, which suffered suffered severe damage to its bow after a blaze ignited on board on June 12, 2020.

The fire erupted while Perle was in drydock in Toulon as part of a major overhaul.

No injuries were reported, and there were no live weapons, nuclear fuel, or batteries on board in accordance with navy drydocking protocol. However, the submarine’s bow needed to be replaced with the bow of its decommissioned sister boat Saphir.

After the new hull was welded in place, the inner decks were reconstructed, hundreds of cables and manifolds that run from bow to stern were spliced, and the nuclear core was reloaded. The boat’s combat system was also upgraded.

To aid in the repairs, Naval Group developed a 3D digital twin of Perle. This enabled electricians and pipe fitters to rehearse their movements in virtual reality before they carried out any actual repairs on the submarine.

Perle will now continue to undergo sea trials in preparation for its eventual return to service.

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