Following a sea trial process, the SNA Perle completed its maintenance and repair unavailability period (IPER) on 30 June 2023. This step marks the return of the building to the operational cycle.
A committee comprising representatives of the Directorate-General for Armaments (DGA), the Fleet Support Service (SSF), the Standing Committee on Programmes and Tests (CPPE) and the Squadron of Nuclear Underwater Attack Submarines (ESNA) has validated the technical conformity of the vessel and its ability to navigate safely while diving.
Initiated in 2019, the Pearl SNA IPERER period was marked by a severe fire in June 2020, while the submarine was in the basin. After new repairs, carried out at the Naval Group site in Cherbourg following a process never before, the SNA resumed its IPER at the end of 2021. It began its trials at dock after its pond exit on 10 November 2022, then at sea in May 2023. The start of sea trials was marked by the first static dive carried out on 22 May, in the harbour of Toulon. During its IPER, the SNA Perle was made fit to implement the F21 torpedo arming Suffren-type SNAs. During their operational qualifications, the crew will fire an exercise F21 torpedo. The SNA Perle now has operational potential until 2028.
On June 12, 2020, the SNA Pearl then in IPER at the Basin in Toulon, suffered a serious fire, causing significant damage to the front part of the building. On October 22, 2020, Army Minister Florence Parly decided to have the Pearl repaired in Cherbourg and to extend the first series, the SNA Rubis, until 2022. The transfer of the submarine between the two ports is carried out by “Roll dock” barge. Segment of submarine sections are common in the context of shipyards. The cutting and merger, as part of Maintainment in Operational Condition (MCO) actions provided by the SSF, was a first in France. The Minister’s decision was informed by the results of the joint technical expertise of Naval Group, the DGA and the SSF. After ten months of work in Cherbourg, the SNA Perle is equipped with a new front part (the SNA Saphir disarmed in 2019) and joined its base port on 1 November 2021 to continue its IPER. This return to Toulon marked the resumption of work on the technical shutdown. On 8 December 2022 the first divergence (start) of the reactor took place. The SNA was taken out of the basin on 10 November 2022 to begin dockside tests.