French submarine FNS Amethyste (S605) transits the Thames River in preparation to arrive at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., Sept. 1. Amethyste’s scheduled good will port visit is the first international submarine visit to Groton since 2018 and allows the crew to experience cultural exchanges with their American counterparts. 

GROTON, Connecticut

The nuclear-powered French submarine FNS Améthyste (S605) arrived Wednesday at Naval Submarine Base New London, where her crew is being hosted for a scheduled port visit.

“Groton submariners understand the value of a good port visit to rest, replenish and recuperate,” said Capt. John Stafford, commodore of the Groton-based Submarine Squadron 4. “They also value the strategic message delivered by such a demonstration of solidarity with our French shipmates. We are privileged to host the crew of the Améthyste, share sea stories on our common experiences, and reaffirm to our adversaries the indomitable strength of our alliances.”

The Améthyste is expected to remain at the Navy submarine base for multiple days, during which time the Groton-based USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) will serve as her host boat. Cmdr. Samuel Bell, commanding officer of Cheyenne, visited France four years ago during a port visit while the executive officer of USS Hartford (SSN 768).

“The crew of USS Cheyenne is excited to welcome the crew of the FNS Améthyste to Groton,” he said. “We looking forward to sharing sea stories and building friendships based on the camaraderie that binds submarine sailors worldwide. I am personally excited to repay the warm reception I received in Brest, France on USS Hartford in July 2017.”

Fast-attack submarines like those based in Groton are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare.

Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.

“We’re incredibly honored to welcome the Améthyste to our waterfront and build new, personal relationships in this storied alliance that dates back to the very founding of our nation,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Matthew Boland, commodore of the Groton-based Submarine Squadron 12. “This experience will undoubtedly enrich both French and American Sailors alike, and remind us of our shared resolve for peace and stability across the Atlantic.”

The arrival of the French submarine is the latest noteworthy event in a busy August for the base waterfront, which just two days earlier hosted a commissioning commemoration ceremony for the USS Vermont (SSN 792) and on Aug. 24 saw the homecoming of USS San Juan (SSN 751) after a seven-month deployment.

The last international submarine to visit Naval Submarine Base New London was the British submarine HMS Trenchant (S91) in April of 2018.

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