|The Rubis Class is a nuclear attack submarine operated by the French Navy. The lead boat in the class, Rubis, was laid down December 11, 1976 and launched July 7, 1979. However, fine-tuning of the design needed over 1,000 hours of underwater
testing before she was finally commissioned on February 23, 1983. Eight submarines were planned but only six were built and commissioned. The six boats are Rubis (S601), Saphir (S602), Casabianca (S603), Émeraude (S604), Améthyste (S605)
and Perle (S606). All boats were named after gemstones, expect for Casabianca, which was named in honor of the famous World War II submarine which escaped the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon to join the Allies and served with
distinction. As launched, the submarines measured 236 feet long (72 meter) and are the most compact nuclear attack submarine to date. They were fitted with four 21-inch (533mm) torpedo tubes capable firing torpedoes or Exocet anti-ship missiles.
The initial design of the Rubis had unexpectedly high noise levels. This led to the AMÉlioration Tactique HYdrodynamique Silence Transmission Ecoute (Améthyste) silencing program. This translates to Silent Acoustic Transmission Tactical
Hydrodynamic Improvement. The program included upgrades to the sonar, reshaping of the hull form and rounding the bow to improve silencing and additional upgrades of the electronics. These improvements were applied to the hulls of the
Améthyste (S605) and Perle (S606). The reshaping of the hull and bow increased the length to 241 feet (73.6 meters). After testing and proving of the upgrades, the original four boats were rebuilt to incorporate the changes between 1989 and 1995.
Even with the additional length, the class remains the most compact nuclear attack submarine to date.
Saphir was decommissioned in July 2019 and the other five submarines are still commissioned but only four currently active. Perle caught fire in dry dock while undergoing major renovations on June 12, 2020. The fire was intense but confined to the
forward section of the submarine. Fortunately, there were no weapons or nuclear fuel onboard at the time of the fire. Later that year, it was decided to use the forward section of the decommissioned Saphir to repair Perle, which completion is planned
in 2023. The Rubis Class submarines are scheduled to be gradually replaced by the new Barracuda Class submarines.