Frigate Suffren, France's first missile-launching warship

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Frigate Suffren

France’s first missile-launching warship

About this class and its interest in War Thunder

As the scope of naval battles keeps expanding, it would not be strange to one day see dedicated missile ships joining the game as part of cold war modern battles. Although naval battles would change from a gameplay perspective, I do believe it is still possible to make it entertaining as long as it’s not fit in the same category as the current naval battles. The Suffren class being the first dedicated missile platform of the French navy, it becomes a must in that context.

History :

The late 1950’s in France saw the modernization of their entire fleet, and the renewal of the French naval industry. At the same time, technology, was evolving fast, as nuclear submarines were appearing, missile technology out-ranged conventional artillery, and radar technology was evolving fast to keep up with modern jet and overall aerial warfare. It was in this context that the French navy decided, starting 1959, to work on a new generation of modern, versatile warships capable of facing any kind of surface, submarine or aerial threat, but most importantly, capable of protecting the new French carriers, the Foch and the Clémenceau. It was the Suffren class. Initially named “Missile-launching cruiser”, the French navy decided to bring back an old appellation, frigate, to define this new class of ships, the first one since the 19th century. The main equipment of the Suffren revolved around the Masurca AA missile, a dual purpose missile capable of intercepting aircrafts and incoming projectiles. The Suffren was also the first operational ship equipped with Exocet MM38 missiles.

Work on the Suffren started in 1962, and in 1965, the ship was launched. After 2 years of various test, it was finally operational late 1967, and it finally entered service after maintenance in July 1968. It was immediately affected to the Atlantic task force, and started its first travel in spring 1969. It was used as a flag ship for the escort ships, coordinating the defense fleet of the task force. It played this role in many exercises during its career. Traveling all around the globe during its career, it participated to many diplomatic operations. It was heavily modernized in 1988, gaining heavy electronic warfare equipment, and having its AA missiles modernized. It kept sailing for another 13 years, participating in many operations, most notably during the Gulf and Balkan wars. In 2001, after 36 years of service, it was finally put in reserve, as its engine equipment was too costly to modernize. It was decommissioned in 2009 and since then, still serves today as a breakwater on the shores of the island Levant.

Specifications :

Crew : 360 men


Total length : 158m

Total width : 15.57m

draught : 7.25m

weight : 5700t (7385t max)


type : 4 x Steam Indret, 2 Rateau turbines (72 500 HP)

propellers : 2

max speed : 34 knots

autonomy : 5000 miles at 18 knts


2 x 100mm Dual purpose canons modèle 64 (2 x 1)

2 x 20mm F2 auto canons (2 x 1)
1 x Malafon antisub missile

10 x 550mm L5 anti-sub torpedo

2x Masurca missile ramp (48 Masurca missiles in total)
4 x Exocet missile launchers (4x MM38) (added 1979)

ECW/EW equipment :

AN/SLQ-25 Nixie anti-torpedo system (towed decoy)
2 x AMBL-2A Sagaie countermesure
1 x Radar jammer ARBR-33A


Plan :



Photos :



Suffren in 1968



A video of the Duquesne, sister ship of the Suffren, showing the various missiles used as well as the overall specs of the ship.
Another deliciously 80’s video showing the life aboard the ship. Masurca system in action is shown at 11:15, and at 30:00, an evac exercise shows the doors which are used to reload the Masurca launcher.

Sources :


Histoire de la FLM Suffren
MOULIN J. , Les frégates Suffren et Duquesne, édition Marine, 1998


+1 cant wait for the royale to be expanded

+1 and surprised at the “no” 🤣

Some people don’t want to see modern warships in the game, which IMO is a perfectly valid opinion. I did these suggestions on the old forums because we were already seeing modern equipment at the time but the further we go in time, the more difficult it will be to balance, not to mention the maps that are completely and utterly unfit for these kind of very long range engagements.

Yes but since we are talking about balance knowing that the Russians already have their Modern missile launcher it would be “balanced” to add some for the other Nations.

Current missile warships are already difficult to balance. And given the right circumstances, they are absolutely OP. Adding other missile warship won’t change that, especially when CIWS will be a thing. Some countries are going to have a massive advantage because of that. Not to mention the vast difference of radar arrays which you can bet will also be impossible to balance.

As I said. I personnally think modern warship battles can be fun, but I perfectly understand why some people wouldn’t want them in the game.

im fine with these just no direct anti ship missiles, aa missiles being used for anti ship i think is fine if they just add it without Exocet it will be fine


Heck yeah! French coastal tree is gonna be so fun. +1

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Late reply but +1 (can’t resist to that ridiculously oversized radar dome)

I think some equivalents were seen in the files for US and UK so it’d be nice if they could all come soon.
They really need to rework ship’s missiles however. Masurca especially is more comparable to a surface launched fox 1 that what we have in game right now for naval.

As for balance that would require bigger maps at least, and separated from WW2 ships surely.

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Talking of Masurca, got a few info on that missile (see sources below) :
Main characteristics :

  • Length : 8.6 m (total), 5.29 m (without booster)
  • Diameter : 0.406 m (missile), 0.57m (booster)
  • Mass : 2.1 Tons
  • Maximum speed : Mach 3
  • Warhead mass : 100 kg HE warhead
  • Altitude : min : 30 m, max : 23 000 m
  • Maximum theorical range stated to be 55 km (max effective range stated to be 40km or more against supersonic targets by source 2)

Missile comes in 3 main variants, of which 2 were used in service :

Mark 2 Mod 2 : SACLOS guided (i therefore was wrong on my previous message), retired in 1975
Mark 2 Mod 3 : Semi-active radar guided and proportional navigation (fox 1), retired in 2008 and replaced by Aster 15/30

Maximum speed is achieved by the first stage booster burning for roughly 5 seconds and giving the second stage a 800 m/s velocity. Couldn’t find any source for the second stage/sustainer burn time however, only source 2* states the second stage uses a “solid fuel end burning sustainer”.

Couldn’t find any source on the lateral acceleration either, but considering we’re talking about a 2 tons (950 kg without booster) old generation missile, I’m not holding my breath.

Dunno where to put those scraps of info so thought I would share it here

*Source 1 : Masurca (not a primary source, they claim they used encyclopédie des armes, éditions atlas, N°64 - plaquette DTCN réalisée pour l’Exposition Navale 1968 - Flottes de combat 2006)
*Source 2 : (from page 112 to 117)

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