FS Suffren (D602) led the two-strong group of Suffren-class defensive-minded frigates for the French Navy during the Cold War-era. Built by Lorient Arsenal, the warship was laid down on December 21st, 1962 and launched on May 15th, 1965. She was formally commissioned on October 1st, 1967 and led a service life in the French Navy until decommissioned in 2008. During her career, the vessel had homeports at Lorient, Brest and Toulon. She was named after Pierre Andre de Suffren (1729-1788), a French Navy admiral.
When commissioned, FS Suffren marked the first French Navy warship to feature an extensive missile-launching capability, categorizing the warships as guided-missile frigates. The class was designed as a direct counterpart to the Clemenceau-class aircraft carriers of the French Fleet.
As built, FS Suffren carried a crew of 23 officers and 337 petty officers and sailors. Dimensions included an overall length of 518 feet, a beam of 50.9 feet and a draught of 23.8 feet. The ship's profile included a stepped bridge superstructure, large radar dome, a midships-mounted main mast and a small, more contained secondary superstructure aft. There was no provision for launching or receiving helicopters on Suffren. Her propulsion scheme was led by 4 x steam boilers feeding 4 x turbines developing 72,500 horsepower to 2 x shafts. Maximum speed could reach 34 knots.
As a multi-role frigate, Suffren was outfitted with various weapon systems to counter fleet threats that originated from the air, the sea or under the sea. As such she carried a Masurca twin launcher and 48 surface-to-air missiles, 4 x launchers for the MM.38 Exocet anti-ship missiles and a single launcher for the Malafon anti-submarine rocket torpedo. Another anti-submarine measure were four launchers dedicated to the L5 system and ten torpedoes were carried for this. More conventional armament included 2 x 100mm turreted deck guns (installed at the forecastle), 4 x 20mm automatic cannons and 4 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns.
Onboard systems were the DRBI-23 radar fit (the large dome seated over the bridge superstructure), the ARBR-33 series jammer, the ARBR-17 series detector suite, the SLQ-25 "Nixie" torpedo decoy and a pair of Sagaie decoy launchers.
FS Suffren was sister-ship to FS Duquesne. Like Suffren, Duquesne was decommissioned in 2008.
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