Rubis Class submarine

The Rubis type is a class of first-generation nuclear attack submarines of the French Navy. They are the most compact nuclear attack submarines to date.

Originally of the same generation as the Redoutable class, notably sharing the same distinctive vertical bow, the first units of the series have undertaken major refitting in the beginning of the 90s to upgrade them to the level of the Améthyste.

The French Navy operates six Rubis Amethyste class submarines from the naval base in Toulon. The submarines, built at the Cherbourg Naval Dockyard of DCN, are the Rubis S601 commissioned in 1983, Saphir S602 (1984), Casabianca S603 (1987), Emeraude S604 (1988), Amethyste S605 (1992) and Perle S606 (1993).

They have a computer central system for submarine detection, processing of information and firing of weapons. The hull is made of 80 HLES high elasticity steel. The sonar dome and the conning tower are made of composite materials.


The torpedo tube launched Exocet SM39 anti-ship missile is manufactured by MBDA (formerly EADS Aerospatiale). Target range and bearing data is downloaded from the submarine's tactical data system and weapon control system into the Exocet's computer.


The submarine has the capacity to carry 14 missiles and torpedoes in a mixed load. The four 533mm torpedo tubes are equipped with a pneumatic ram system for discharging torpedoes from the tubes.


The propulsion system of the Rubis Amethyste is a nuclear-powered turbo-electric system. The Pressure Water Reactor (PWR) CAS 48 provides 48MW. A diesel-electric SEMT-Pielstick and Jeumont Schneider 8 PA4 V 185 SM provides the auxiliary propulsion. The submarine achieves a dived speed of 25 knots.

They will be succeeded by the 2nd-generation Barracuda class.

RUBIS CLASS Specifications
Country of Manufacture France
Number in Service 6
Crew 10 officers 60 ratings
Armament 533mm F-17 torpedoes
Length 73m
Beam 7.6m
Draught 6.4m
Displacement 2,600 tonnes submerged
Powerplant K48 PWR
Performance 25 knots submerged – range unlimited
First of Class 1983