First Brazilian Scorpène Class Submarine Launched

Riachuelo courtesy of Naval Group
Riachuelo courtesy of Naval Group

Published Dec 16, 2018 8:41 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Brazilian Navy has launched its first Brazilian-built Scorpène submarine, the Riachuelo

The vessel is part of a $8.9 billion government program that will culminate in the delivery of a Brazilian-built nuclear-powered submarine in 2029.

The project for French shipbuilder Naval Group (formerly DCNS) started in 2009 with a contract for the design and technology transfer for four conventional Scorpène submarines, and for the design and manufacturing assistance for the non-nuclear part of Brazil’s first nuclear-powered submarine. The contract also included the support for the construction of a naval base and a shipyard in Brazil. The shipyard is being built by a Brazilian company, Construtora Norberto Odebrecht (CNO), based on Naval Group specifications.

The Riachuelo will start sea trials in 2019 and is scheduled for delivery in 2020. Her launch means the Brazilian Navy now has six submarines. Delivery of the other three new submarines will follow every 12 to 18 months.

Scorpène is a conventional submarine designed by Naval Group for the export market. Today 14 Scorpène submarines are in service or being built for the Chilean Navy (two units), the Malaysian Navy (two units), the Indian Navy (six units) and the Brazilian Navy (four units).

The Scorpène design is adapted to fit each navy’s specific requirements. Thus, the Brazilian Scorpène will be slightly longer to carry a larger crew, almost double the patrol range and be able to cover greater distances. The class is designed for ocean-going submarine and shallow waters operations and fulfills the entire scope of missions such as anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, special operations, offensive mine laying and intelligence gathering. 

The new submarine is named after the naval battle of Riachuelo in the 19th century Paraguay War.

Brazil has over 7,000 kilometers (4,300 miles) of coastline.

Brazilian Scorpène’s characteristics

Surfaced displacement: 1,600 – 2,000 tons
Length, overall: 72 meters (236 feet)
Submerged speed: > 20 knots
Diving depth: > 300 meters (980 feet)
Autonomy: > 45 days
Crew: 35
Weapons total payload: 18
Weapon tubes: six
Operational availability at sea: > 240 days per year