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The Minerve submarine(call sign S647)

La Minerve is a high-performance submarine

Built by the Dubigeon shipyards in Nantes, the Minerve submarine, launched on May 31, 1961, has been in service since June 1964.

It belongs to the category of so-called “high performance” submersibles, of which the French Navy owned nine units.

Their designation “high performance” is justified by two characteristics:

  • they are the first to be able to dive to three hundred meters,

  • they are characterized by a marked ability to change immersion quickly.characteristic is conferred on them by:

    • good hydrodynamic shapes,

    • the position of the aft dive bars, placed immediately downstream of the propellers; this advantage (“boost” effect) is on the other hand counterbalanced by a tendency to gain ground quickly.


Two other submarines of the same type were still on hold in Brest and were to go to sea in 1969 and 1970.

Displacing 1,040 tonnes when submerged, it reaches a speed of 13.5 knots on the surface and 16 knots when submerged.

Its diesel-electric propulsion develops 1,600 horsepower. It is armed with twelve 550 millimeter torpedoes (eight at the front and four at the rear) with an acoustic homing head carrying about ten kilometers.


It is equipped with advanced underwater detection equipment that allows it to hear 180 kilometers around.

In diving, the walk of the building is silent. It also has the ability to gain a depth of immersion greater than that achieved by other submarines.

This type of submarine was adopted by several foreign navies, whether the ships were built in France, or whether the purchasing country was responsible for the work itself with the assistance of French technicians. Four copies were ordered in 1964 by Portugal, two by Spain in 1965, three by Pakistan in 1966 and three by the Union of South Africa in 1967.

Sectional plans  by Jacques Marquet - with the authorization of the author - Reproduction prohibited without his authorization

Minerve coupes Bd & Td.png
Minerve coupes Td & dessus.png
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