[Trade portrait] Catherine is an engineer on the Barracuda platform at the site of Toulon

20 April 2021 Innovation Submarines Defense Naval


Catherine is an engineer on the Barracuda platform at the site of Toulon, where she works as close as possible to the ships. She has been working for the past two years on the development of acoustic antennas for the Barracuda nuclear submarines. From activities on factory equipment to on-board tests, she is at the very heart of the project.

“I had never done anything in acoustics when I started at Naval Group; this position was a real challenge for me!” says the young woman. A graduate of SupAéro in Toulouse, she began her career in a completely different field: “I worked at Safran Aircraft Engines on future motors for seven years, and, more specifically, I was a project manager in thermal engineering. It was very interesting, but I wanted to further explore project management, to discover a new field (submarine and acoustics) and to increasingly work in a multi-trade environment”, she explains.

One title, several trades

The “Fridays at school” internal training within the Underwater Detection (UWD) department provided her with the foundations for exchanging with experts in underwater detection; she acquired the rest of her training on the job, alongside the teams. “I like the transversal nature of my function and the fact that I get to interact with other specialists on a daily basis; I like understanding everyone’s constraints and to help move the process forward. Seeing a project from all angles is very stimulating – I feel like I am working in several fields in addition to mine”, explains Catherine.

An exciting day-to-day

Her repertoire of projects includes developments in acoustic antennas for French nuclear submarines of the next twenty years: linear arrays and cylindrical intercept arrays – two developments that are highly anticipated by the customer. Her tasks also include reliable management of the integration, deployment and contractual performance validation stages for each project, in accordance with the milestones established with the management of the program, the customer and the French Navy.
“The upcoming trials of these first major capability upgrades on the Barracuda program will serve as a foundation for the relationship with the customer. Trust is of paramount importance: it is forged on regular and rigorous work on deliverables, on our capacity to provide quality technical content, and on transparent communication”, concludes Catherine.