French submarine Améthyste (S605)

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Améthyste arriving in Norfolk, VA
Laid down31 October 1983
Launched14 May 1988
Commissioned3 March 1992
In service20 March 1992
StatusIn active service
General characteristics
Class and typeRubis-class submarine
  • 2,600 t (2,600 long tons)
  • 2,400 t (2,400 long tons) surfaced
Length73.6 m (241 ft 6 in)
Beam7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)
Draught6.4 m (21 ft 0 in)
  • Pressurised water K48 nuclear reactor (48 MW), LEU 7%;[1] 2 turbo-alternators; 1 electric engine (7 MW); one propeller
  • 1 diesel-alternators SEMT Pielstick 8 PA 4V 185 SM; one auxiliary engine, 5 MW.
Speedover 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi)
Endurance60 days
Test depthover 300 m (980 ft)
  • 8 officers
  • 52 warrant officers
  • 8 petty officers
Sensors and
processing systems
  • DMUX 20 multifunction
  • ETBF DSUV 62C tugged antenna
  • DSUV 22 microphone system
  • DRUA 33 radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys
  • 4 × 533 mm (21 in) tubes[2]
  • total mixed load of 14;

Améthyste is a nuclear-powered attack submarine of the French Navy, the fifth of the Rubis type. The boat's name is a pun on a precious stone (Amethyst) and the acronym AMElioration Tactique, HydrodYnamique, Silence, Transmission, Ecoute ("Tactical, hydrodynamics, silence and transmission improvements"). The boat is a major upgrade upon the initial design of the Rubis type, and earlier units have since been refitted to meet her standards.

Service history[edit]

Améthyste entering Portsmouth Naval Base, UK

Améthyste took part in Operation Allied Force, the 1999 bombing campaign over Yugoslavia, by protecting the NATO aeronaval group. Along with Rubis, the boat was one of the two submarines that interdicted the Kotor straits to the Serbian Navy, thus effectively forbidding their use. The boat also gathered information for the coalition.[3][4]

The submarine Améthyste was part of the French naval task group led by the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle that departed Toulon on 30 October 2010 for a four-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.[5][6] The task group commander, Rear Admiral Jean-Louis Kerignard, defined force's mission as follows:

"The force would help allied navies fight piracy off the coast of Somalia and send jets to support NATO in the skies above Afghanistan."[citation needed]

Once on station, the Charles de Gaulle carrier task group joined two U.S. Navy carrier strike groups led by the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Harry S. Truman operating in the Persian Gulf.[citation needed] Subsequently, between 7–14 January 2011, the French carrier task group led by Charles de Gaulle participated with bilateral naval exercise, code named Varuna 10, with the Indian Navy. Indian naval units participating in Varuna 10 included the aircraft carrier Viraat, the frigates Godavari and Ganga; and the diesel-electric submarine Shalki. Varuna 10 was a two-phase naval exercise, with the harbor phase taking place between 7–11 January and the sea phase between 11 and 14 January in the Arabian Sea.[6]

In December 2022, the submarine was reported operating in the Atlantic and paid a rare visit to the Clyde naval base in Scotland.[7]


The fanion of Améthyste is decorated:

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "SSN Rubis Amethyste Class". Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Histoire et actualités du SNA Améthyste". (in French). Archived from the original on 19 July 2008.
  4. ^ "Sous-marin nucléaire d'attaque Améthyste". (in French). Archived from the original on 21 May 2008.
  5. ^ "Fifth Deployment for French Charles de Gaulle Aircraft Carrier". Defense Professional. 3 November 2010. Archived from the original on 6 November 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  6. ^ a b Ragahuvanshi, Vivek (6 January 2011). "Indo-French Naval Exercises Set To Start". DefenseNews. Retrieved 10 January 2011.[dead link]
  7. ^ "French Navy's Rubis class nuclear submarine visits Scotland". navyrecognition. 28 December 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.