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FS Amethyste (S605)

Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine

France | 1992

"FS Amethyste S605 makes up one portion of the six-strong Rubis-class nuclear-powered attack submarines serving the modern French Navy."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/02/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In the mid-1970s, the French government approved a new nuclear-powered attack submarine class for the Navy service to number eight boats in all. The Rubis-class became a dimensionally-compact group of undersea fighting boats that eventually numbered just six with two being cancelled. The class was led by FS Rubis (S601) and eventually included FS Saphir (S602), FS Casablanca (S603); FS Emeraude (S604), FS Amethyste (S605) and FS Perle (S606). All but the Casablanca were named after precious gemstones.

The Rubis-class was adopted to succeed the aging Dahne-class boats and were, themselves, since succeeded by the newer Barracuda-class (better known as the Suffren-class) detailed elsewhere on this site.

FS Amethyste (or L'Amethyste) was laid down on October 31st, 1983 and launched on May 14th, 1988. She was formally commissioned for service into the French Navy ranks on March 3rd, 1992 and entered service on March20th of that year, making her homeport out of Toulon. She remains in active service as of this writing (November 2017). Enough changes were instituted on Amerthyste that she served as the new standard for the Rubis-class, all of which were upgraded to meet her qualities in silent operation, improved hydrodynamics and engine processes.

FS Amethyste is a nuclear-powered submarine carrying a pressurized water K48 nuclear reactor mated to an SEMT Pielstick 8PA4V185SM diesel-alternator, an auxiliary engine, an electric engine and 2 x turbo-alternators. This arrangement allows the boat to make headway (under water) at over 25 knots, making her very fast, and range out indefinitely thanks to her high endurance nuclear power pack. Onboard supplies allow the crew of 68 to stay on mission for up to sixty days. The hull is tested to depths of slightly more than 300 meters.

Aboard is a DMUX 20 series multifunction suite with an ETBF DSUV 62C tugged antenna fit and a Kelvin Hughes 1007 radar. The submarine also carries a DSUV 22 series microphone (listening) system and model DRUA 33 radar. The Thomson "Sintra" DMUX 20 is the sonar installation and the DSUV 62C is the towed array. Electronic Warfare (EW) is headed by the Thomson-CSF ARUR 13/DR 3000U suite.

Armament centers on 4 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes, all bow-facing, and these launchers can fire the F17 Mod 2 torpedo family or the Exocet SM.39 anti-ship missile. It can also carry and disperse naval mines as needed. Torpedo reloads number fourteen.

Displacement is 2,400 tons when surfaced and 2,670 tons when dived. Dimensions include a length of 241 feet, a beam of 25 feet and a draught of 21 feet. Externally the boat has a smooth, rounded bow and its sail is set ahead of midships. The sail contains the dive planes and these are mounted forward and towards the top of the conning tower. The stern holds the rudder planes (cruciform pattern) and propeller unit.

To date (2017), FS Amethyste has seen active combat in the 1999 Yugoslavian campaign concerning Bosnia and its neighbors (as part of the NATO contingent there). Beyond intelligence gathering, which the boat excelled at, the submarine was also used as a waterway denial platform against Serbian forces. After this, the boat was seen navigating the various European water bodies as well as taking trips to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf region - helping to curtail piracy operations near Somalia in the latter.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for FS Amethyste (S605).
1 x K48 pressurized water nuclear reactor with 2 x turbo alternators, 1 x Electric engine and 1 x SEMT Pielstick 8PA4V185SM diesel-alternator; 1 x Auxiliary engine; 1 x Shaft.
15.0 kts
17.3 mph
Surface Speed
25.0 kts
28.8 mph
Submerged Speed
Essentially Unlimited
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of FS Amethyste (S605).
241.0 ft
73.46 meters
O/A Length
25.0 ft
7.62 meters
21.0 ft
6.40 meters
Displacement (Submerged)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of FS Amethyste (S605).
4 x 533mm (21") bow-facing torpedo tubes with 14 torpedo reloads. Support for launching SM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles and naval mines as well.
Ships-in-Class (6)
Notable series variants as part of the FS Amethyste (S605) family line as relating to the Rubis-class group.
FS Rubis (FS Provence) (S601); FS Saphir (FS Bretagne) (S602); FS Casablanca (Bourgogne) (S603); FS Emeraude (S604); FS Amethyste (S605); FS Perle (S606); FS Turquoise (S607) (cancelled); FS Diamat (S608) (cancelled)
Global operator(s) of the FS Amethyste (S605). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.
National flag of France

[ France ]
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Image of the FS Amethyste (S605)
Image from the United States Navy; Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to seaborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
FS Amethyste (S605) Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine appears in the following collections:
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