First Brazilian-made Scorpène-class submarine began sea trials

BRASILIA, (BM) – The Brazilian Ministry of Defense announced that the first Scorpène-type submarine “Riachuelo”, built in Brazil, began sea trials on August 12, 2020, during which the propulsion, control and navigation systems were first tested, learned citing Defence24.

Read more: The Brazilian Navy Has Agreed to Transfer Two Tupi Class Submarines to Argentine Navy

Ships of this type are interesting because they were also offered to the Polish Navy as part of the Orka program.

The Scorpène submarine building program in Brazil has entered a new phase. The prototype unit of this type “Riachuelo” (S 40) has just successfully passed the first sea trials. The submarine sailed eight nautical miles on the surface, which, however, was enough to check the propulsion system, steering system [horizontal and vertical rudders] and the navigation system.

Thanks to this, it will be possible to safely conduct further tests at sea and finally confirm the assumed tactical and technical parameters of the Brazilian Scorpèns.

So far, the trials have only been organized in the waters of the Gulf of Sepetiba, on the south coast of Rio de Janeiro near the ICN [Itaguaí Construções Navais] shipyard where the ‘Riachuelo’ was assembled. The word “assembled” is used here specifically because the first Brazilian Scorpène was made up of three sections – separately built and equipped at the UFEM (Unidade de Fabricação de Estruturas Metálicas) metal works in Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro state.

These sections were later transported to the ICN [Itaguaí Construções Navais] shipyard in Sepetiba Bay [in Itaguaí], traveling by road a distance of about 5 km. It was a big technical challenge, because the first segment [bow and midship with a conning tower] was 39.86 m long, 12.30 m high and weighed 619 tons, the second part [with the propulsion system] was 18 m long and weighed 370 tons, while the third [aft] was 14 m long and weighed 190 tons.

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The greatest success, however, is the very fact that the Brazilians themselves built this submarine using only the help of the French Naval Group. This assistance was implemented in many ways. First, the Scorpène design was adapted to the specific requirements of the Brazilian Navy.

Secondly, with the technological and specialist support of the French concern Naval Group, the production of submarines was launched – with the construction of the entire shipbuilding infrastructure necessary for this.

Thirdly, it was assumed that the competences handed over by the French are to allow the Brazilians to independently design and build a new type of submarines – including nuclear-powered ones. So far, it is assumed that the keel for the first vessel of this class is to be laid in 2023.

Currently, all four Scorpène diesel-electric submarines are being built simultaneously. The first of them – “Riachuelo” is to be delivered to the Brazilian Navy in 2020. The entire program is therefore delayed by three years, as it was initially assumed that the first unit would be handed over in 2017. The other three Brazilian Scorpenes: “Humaita” [S41], “Tonelero” [S42] and “Ango Stura” [S43] are to be returned approximately every twelve months.

Last year, Brazil transferred two submarines to the Argentine Navy

As we reported last year in June, the Brazilian Navy has agreed to transfer two Tupi class submarines – Type 209/1400 – to Argentina, following a meeting between Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and his Argentine counterpart, Mauricio Macro.

Read more: Brazil Tests Its New Embraer KC-390 Military Transport Aircraft

The Tupi class of four vessels was commissioned between 1989 and 1999 and is slated to be replaced by the four Tonelero-class submarines of the Scorpene type in the near future.

Type 209 submarines are armed with 8 bow 533 mm torpedo tubes and 14 torpedoes. The Type 209/1200s used by Greece and South Korea, and the Type 209/1400s used by Turkey are also armed with Sub-Harpoon missiles. Ships used by South Korea can be armed with 28 mines in place of torpedoes and Harpoon missiles; while the Indian ships can carry 24 mines externally.

The class can be armed with a variety of torpedo models depending upon the country. The majority of boats carry SUT – Surface and Underwater Target [Greece, India, Indonesia, South Africa, South Korea] or the SST – Special Surface Target [Argentina, Peru, Turkey’s 209/1200s, Venezuela] torpedoes. The boats can also carry the Mark 24 Tigerfish [Brazil, Turkey’s Preveze class 209/1400], DM2A3 [Colombia], Blackshark [Chile], A184 mod. 3 [Ecuador], DM2A4 [Turkey’s Gür class 209/1400] and Mark 37 [Argentina].

Brazil’s boats will receive new integrated combat systems from Lockheed Martin to enable use of the Mark 48 torpedo. Successful tests of the new combat system occurred on Tapajó S-33 in December 2011.

Read more: Strategic Partnership between Embraer and Boeing Approved by the Brazilian Government

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