There’s been a new twist in the project to graft a new front end to the fire-damaged French Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine Perle. Imagery from the dry dock shows that, rather than the expected “nose job,” two submarine halves are now being attached together to produce a “new” submarine, which will retain the Perle name. The procedure to fuse together the two hull halves of the Rubis class submarines will actually end up stretching the length of the submarine by 4 feet 6 inches.
Earlier this month, the undamaged rear half of the Perle and the front half of the Saphir were carefully aligned on “walkers” at the Naval Group shipyard in Cherbourg, northern France. Saphir had previously been withdrawn from service in July 2019. Caused by faulty lighting, the fire onboard the Perle started on June 12 last year and burned for 14 hours, causing massive structural damage to the front end of the boat. There were no reports of injuries and no weapons or nuclear fuel were on board at the time.