"I joined Naval Group in 2009 after graduating from the Haute école d’ingénieur (HEI) engineering school in Lille where I had completed a general engineering course, specialising in mechanics. Since then, I have been involved in the whole process of building a new submarine, learning from experienced colleagues in various fields and working on a ship in its final phase of construction. Our job is fascinating! We never get bored and all work really well together. Working close to the product and the customer too is extremely gratifying!
Working through all the phases of a new submarine's construction
“I started at the Hull trade department, the entity which guarantees that all the ship's elementary parts have been correctly built. The department is also responsible for the larger elements as the ship moves to the phase where the "sub-sections" get bigger.
I then followed Suffren to the construction and assembly shipyard. I naturally switched to integration, monitoring the installation of elements on board the submarine.
Once this first in the series submarine went from being worked on "geographically" by sector to a "functional" setting to work of the systems on board, my job also made the same shift. So, I ended up managing the team in charge of monitoring tightness, going from harbour acceptance tests right up to the customer's final acceptance of Suffren in Toulon.”
Working on a submarine under construction and seeing it "come to life"
“From 2015 on, I was progressively trained by the Monitored tightness manager in Brest. At the time, construction work on Suffren was still in an early stage of construction. I gradually got to know the ship, along with its hundreds of hull penetrations, which means just as many holes in the pressure hull with a potential effect on its tightness!
I am now Monitored tightness Manager for the Duguay-Trouin and I get to share my lessons learned with the team. My role is to prove the submarine's tightness, not just its pressure hull but also what we call the associated areas: the frogman trunk, the garbage ejector, the torpedo launching tubes, etc.
We follow the ship's construction right up to "handing over the keys" to the crew in Toulon. Part of the ship's crew actually is with us in Cherbourg, training on the submarine well before its preliminary tests. We are gradually “handing over” the submarine's installations to them but remain in the "driving seat" until the crew has taken complete possession of the ship!
It's amazing to be part of the construction phase with its setting to work and tests, and to see the submarine come to life bit by bit!”