[Trade portrait] Alexis is a Design and Test Engineer for the Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarines program

04 May 2021 Innovation Submarines Defense Naval


Since last June, Alexis has worked as a Design and Test Engineer for the Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarines program. Just five months after having joined the Underwater detection department at Ollioules, he was offered the opportunity of going to India to carry out sea trials. Portrait of a 27-year-old engineer who is evolving in a very stimulating environment.

A graduate of the engineering school ENSTA Bretagne, Alexis has always wanted to work in the maritime sector. Following his training as a hydrographer, he got his first job in a company that maps the seabed for public and private clients, a field that in France is reserved for the SHOM (Naval hydrographic and oceanographic service). Often deployed all over the world, Alexis was looking to settle down: “I decided to join a group that provided me with a better balance between my professional and personal life, while allowing me to continue working in the field I prefer. I managed to find this balance at Naval Group: I am seconded to the naval base in Toulon to follow the Barracuda program and, at the same time, I can go on missions for export submarines!”, explains Alexis, who did not hesitate to accept a mission in India.  

Discovering cultures around the world

For three weeks, he took part in the validation tests for the underwater detection equipment of the Karanj, the third of the series of six submarines that Naval Group is building in India.
 “This professional experience was extremely rewarding and I am grateful for the trust that was placed in me. Despite the health restrictions, everything had been carefully prepared and the mission conditions were optimal. Thanks to a lot of preparation, the work was carried out on the first try, and without any issues!”, recalls the engineer.
“I am lucky to be in a profession that is not very common and to work on submarines, which are among the most complex objects in the world. It’s a niche environment in which collaboration and the sharing of knowledge are at its core”, specifies Alexis, highlighting the importance of the support provided by his supervisor, which allows him “to develop with more certainty and confidence”.  

A comprehensive and multi-faceted profession

In the midst of the testing phase, when the frenzy takes hold, Alexis carries out the final checks on the underwater detection equipment, highlighting a process that began years earlier when the equipment was received in the workshop, which continued during integration on board and which will end with the customer during sea trials. He interacts with several suppliers and with the Naval Group teams in Cherbourg and Toulon. “My day-to-day activities are very stimulating: I work alongside many different professionals – from cablers to maintenance workers, sonar to cybersecurity specialists”, explains the engineer. “Naval Group offers many opportunities to develop in these fascinating professions”, he concludes.