The first vessel in a series of eleven, the submarine "Daphne" was christened on October 10, 1955. Put on the slipway in March 1958 in the Dubigeon shipyards in Nantes, it was floated on June 20, 1959 and had its first tests on January 14, 1961, upon which date it left Nantes, and went by Cherbourg for completion.
Entered into service between 1964 and 1970, the 1000 tonne conventionally powered "Daphnes" were high performance submarines. Embodying the characteristics of propulsion, detection, silence and manoeuvrability of the "ARETHUSE" class, of which they were an extrapolation of sorts, the specifications of these oceanic submarines emphasised the depth of immersion, the means of detection and weaponry. But they could not reload their pipes in the sea.
These units having to perform their duties fully submerged, all facilities were designed to make life on board relatively comfortable by making the most of the available space.
The "Daphne" class was upgraded from 1971 to receive DUUA2B sonar (hence a larger bow dome) and DLTD3A to allow the launch of F-17 wire-guided torpedoes.
Eleven vessels were built for the French Navy in the arsenals of Cherbourg and Brest as well as the Dubugeon shipyards in Nantes.
Several foreign navies were markedly interested in this type of submarine and purchased it.
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