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Damaged French submarine cut in two so salvageable half can be welded onto another chopped-up sub

A French submarine has been cut in two, with its salvageable half ready to be welded onto another chopped-up sub.

The nuclear-powered Perle was severely damaged in a fire last year, leaving the front section of the boat unusable according to the French Defence Ministry. 

Though the accidental blaze, which broke out while the ship was in dock in Toulon, southern France, raged for 14 hours, the rear half of the 241-foot-long sub was undamaged.

Officials determined that another submarine awaiting dismantlement at a shipyard in the northwestern port of Cherbourg could be split and joined with the rear of the Perle to make a functional attack submarine.

The Perle was transported to Cherbourg in December and cut in half in February. A month later, the other submarine – the Saphir – was also cut in half, the French shipbuilder Naval Group said in a press release.

A French submarine has been cut in two, with its salvageable half ready to be welded onto another chopped-up sub. The two halves of the ships were put on walkers at the start of this month, allowing them to be painstakingly aligned and welded

The two halves of the ships were put on walkers at the start of this month, allowing them to be painstakingly aligned and welded.

Work is expected to begin on joining them together in the coming months, the Naval Group said.

The release added that the new submarine will keep the name the Perle and will be about four-and-a-half-feet longer than either of the subs it was made from.

This will accommodate a ‘junction area’ while the many cables and pipes running through the sub are spliced together.

It will also house new living quarters for the crew of 70 submariners.

The nuclear-powered Perle (pictured) was severely damaged in a fire last year, leaving the front section of the boat unusable according to the French Defence Ministry

The nuclear-powered Perle (pictured) was severely damaged in a fire last year, leaving the front section of the boat unusable according to the French Defence Ministry

The Naval Group will prepare for the delicate joining process by rehearsing with a 3D digital model.

The procedure will involve 250,000 hours of work by 300 people along with 100,000 hours of engineering studies, the group said. 

 Franck Ferrer, programs director for the Services Division of Naval Group, said in January that the new sub was expected to be returned to Toulon later this year so more technical work and upgrades to its combat systems could be applied before it enters the French fleet in early 2023. 

‘Carrying out this type of project in these circumstances, i.e. repair work that involves joining the fore and aft ends of two sister ships, is of course a first in the modern history of Naval Group,’ Ferrer said.

CNN reported that the United States Navy had carried out a similar procedure on one of its damaged ships, replacing the bow of the USS San Francisco with the bow of the USS Honolulu, which was due to be retired. 

The Naval Group will prepare for the delicate joining process by rehearsing with a 3D digital model. The procedure will involve 250,000 hours of work by 300 people along with 100,000 hours of engineering studies, the group said

The Naval Group will prepare for the delicate joining process by rehearsing with a 3D digital model. The procedure will involve 250,000 hours of work by 300 people along with 100,000 hours of engineering studies, the group said

The Perle was commissioned in 1993 and was the newest of six Rubis-class nuclear submarines in the French fleet.

The Saphir, was commissioned in 1984 and served 35 years.

The Rubis-class subs are due to be replaced over the next few years by the Barracuda nuclear-powered submarines.

The first of these, the Suffren, was delivered to the French navy in November. 

The Naval Group said the sixth Barracuda is not expected to join the fleet until 2030 so the new Perle will need to be active until then to keep French attack submarines at the required number of six.

Work is expected to begin on joining them together in the coming months, the Naval Group said. The release added that the new submarine will keep the name the Perle and will be about four-and-a-half-feet longer than either of the subs it was made from. This will accommodate a 'junction area' while the many cables and pipes running through the sub are spliced together

Work is expected to begin on joining them together in the coming months, the Naval Group said. The release added that the new submarine will keep the name the Perle and will be about four-and-a-half-feet longer than either of the subs it was made from. This will accommodate a ‘junction area’ while the many cables and pipes running through the sub are spliced together

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk