President Emmanuel Macron will unveil on Friday France's latest nuclear-powered 'Barracuda' class submarine, a 9 billion euro ($10.13 billion) stealth vessel program Paris says is key to maintaining its naval presence for decades to come. The French government has placed an order for six of the 5,000-tonne submarines made by Naval Group, in which defense company Thales has a 35 percent stake.
The French navy expects to take delivery of the first, named "Suffren", for sea trials in 2020 and the remainder will enter service over the following decade, replacing France's aging 'Ruby' class submarines. "There is an imperative need for us to be present in conflict zones ... and to be able to pose a threat when necessary," General Francois Lecointre, Chief of the Defence Staff, told CNews on Thursday.
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