Augustin is 25 years old and is preparing to go to sea for 2 months. It is aboard a somewhat special vessel that he will stay during his navigation. A submarine ! Yes, Augustin is "golden ear" in the submarine forces of the French Navy. This evening, he leaves the Center of Interpretation and Acoustic Recognition of Toulon, where he passed his Brevet d'Aptitude Technique then his Brevet Supérieur d'Analyst. He left to reach the depths off the African coast.
This kind of missions, Augustin knows them well. It must be said that it is established after several years of training. First at the Ecole Militaire de Maistrance, where he learned the trade of a sailor, an anti-submarine detector specializing in sonar, then at the Toulon training center. He listened to aquatic noises! Boats, submarines and even animals. This is what being the golden ear is: detect and classify noises, sounds. A crucial mission when you are aboard a nuclear submarine whose objective is to be invisible. And that in the seabed, in the kingdom of darkness, it is the sounds that indicate the presence of a vessel ...
Descent in murky water
This is the big start! Here it is on Le Terrible, a nuclear missile launcher (SNLE) submarine of the French fleet. There he found his traveling companions, other soldiers. But very few have the same mission as him… Recognizing the sound of a Russian corvette engine by ear is not within everyone's reach.
The submersible sinks. Let's go for 70 days of underwater life. 110 people on 300 square meters. Everyone knows their mission. Augustin joins the cabin in which he will spend the next few weeks, with six of his comrades. The atmosphere is relaxed. The mission is shaping up well! And if voluntary confinement may seem inconceivable, team spirit motivates submariners.
It's been a few weeks since the missile launcher has taken up residence under the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Sports sessions in the fitted boiler room, patrols (sometimes during the day, sometimes at night) and convivial moments punctuated life on the vessel. The trip is almost coming to an end ... but an ultimate mission awaits Augustine.
A rise under pressure
It is Vtwo hours, the young submariner begins his night patrol. After relaxing with his friends and devouring his dinner, he regains all of his control screens to analyze potentially suspicious underwater activities. He puts on his helmet. His eyes are fixed on the sonar. For the moment, RAS But you still have to stay on your guard and listen to the smallest children aquatic sounds. The crew are counting on him and are still waiting for a specific answer in order to take action. But tonight, apart from a merchant ship which passed over the building 400 meters higher, the abyss was calm!
The next day, XNUMX p.m., it's time to resume surveillance. Augustin is on a daytime patrol this time. At the same time, the submarine gradually rises to the surface. But problem! The golden ear detects something! For the moment, impossible to know what it is… The commander worries and orders to find imperatively what it is question. The stress rises! Augustin does not spot an approaching object corresponding to the sound heard. He fears that he is no longer safe, because he has been detected. If so, it will be up to him to develop a strategy to hide from a possible enemy ship. After long minutes, the whole crew is relieved. False alarm: it was simply a stray whale! The ascent to the surface can continue in peace.
End of the mission!
After this long underwater journey, cut off from the world, in total confinement with a hundred other sailors and almost without news of his relatives (only a letter of 40 words), Augustin reunited with his family. It's relief! The sailor is exhausted and starved for sunlight, but the mission went off without a hitch. He takes one last look at the horizon and he knows that soon he will dive back below the surface.
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