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Naval Warfare

FS Suffren (D602)

Guided-Missile Frigate Warship [ 1967 ]

The lead ship of the Suffren-class, FS Suffren D602 led a long service life for the French Navy - commissioned in 1967 and retired in 2008.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/09/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

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.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

France national flag graphic

Destroyed, Scrapped.


FS Suffren (D602); FS Duquesne (D603)

National flag of France France
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore Bombardment
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

518.0 ft
157.89 m
50.9 ft
15.51 m
23.8 ft
7.25 m

Installed Power: 4 x Steam boilers feeding 4 x Turbines developing 72,500 horsepower to 2 x Shafts; Also 2 x Turbo-alternators with 3 x Diesel-alternators.
Surface Speed
34.0 kts
(39.1 mph)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
1 x Mascura Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) twin launcher (48 missiles carried).
4 x MM.38 Exocet Anti-Ship (AS) missiles.
1 x Malafon Anti-Submarine ROCket (ASROC) torpedo launcher.
4 x L5 Anti-Submarine torpedo launchers (10 torpedoes).
2 x 100mm turreted deck guns
4 x 20mm automatic cannons
4 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs)

Supported Types

Graphical image of a modern warship turreted deck gun armament
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)

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Images Gallery

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Image of the FS Suffren (D602)
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.

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