Brazil has taken the first step towards producing its own nuclear submarine

BRASILLIA, (BM) – In Brazil, they began to create a prototype reactor for the Alvaro Alberto submarine, the first in the history nuclear submarine of this Latin American country. It will be built with the active assistance of the French, learned

Brazil intends to build the first nuclear submarine in its history: some important steps in this direction have already been taken. As it became known, the Aramar Experimental Center began to manufacture a prototype nuclear reactor for the future submarine. The ceremony to mark the occasion was attended by, inter alia, Brazilian Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo and President Jair Bolsonaro.

The creation of the reactor and related systems is carried out in a building that imitates the reactor compartment of Alvaro Alberto. The experience gained will be used in the construction of a working model for a promising Brazilian submarine.

The Alvaro Alberto submarine is being created as part of the PROSUB program with the active participation of the French side. We are talking about a multipurpose submarine with a displacement of about six thousand tons and a length of 100 meters. The boat is to receive a 48 megawatt nuclear reactor. The submarine will be able to reach a speed of 25 knots [46 kilometers per hour]. It is assumed that Alvaro Alberto will be capable of carrying a wide arsenal of weapons: anti-ship and cruise missiles, as well as torpedoes and mines.

Brazil began sea trials of the first Riachuelo class submarine last year. It was the development of the famous French project Scorpène. The French naval forces abandoned diesel submarines in favor of nuclear submarines: this type of submarine is for export. The underwater displacement of the French submarine is 2,000 tons. The crew consists of 31 people, the navigation autonomy is 50 days.

Recall that not so long ago, Japan launched a lead submarine of the Taigei class. The main feature of such ships is the use of innovative lithium-ion batteries, previously installed on some of the Soryu-class submarines. Other features include advanced electronics and even greater noise reduction, which is critical to the survival of the sub.

And more recently, the European concern Naval Group showed the concept of an electric submarine SMX31E, which in a broad sense became a development of the ideas laid down in the SMX31 project. Among the main features of the SMX31E is the extremely small crew size. They want to achieve this through extensive automation of on-board processes.

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. 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.

The Brazilian Navy test-fired locally developed surface-to-surface anti-ship missile.

As we reported last year the Brazilian Navy test-fired the third and final prototype of the locally developed MANSUP (Míssil Antinavio Nacional de Superfície) surface-to-surface anti-ship missile. The missile was fired from one of the two ITL-10 twin missile launchers on board the Niterói-class frigate F Independência (F44) against the hull of the former tugboat RbAM Tridente (R22) in the maritime area between the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Cabo Frio in State of Rio de Janeiro.

The launch was originally due to take place on 18 June against the hull of former Inhaúma-class corvette Cv Inhaúma (V30) but the operation was aborted due to a malfunction with the ammunition canister, supplied by local company Avibras Indústria Aeroespacial.

The first prototype was launched from corvette Cv Barroso (V34) on 27 November 2018 and the second by F Independência on 20 March 2019. The prototypes were fitted with a telemetry warhead developed by SIATT – Engenharia, Indústria e Comércio, comprising an embedded telemetry transceiver and a safe and arming device.

Defence sources have indicated that the navy will procure the first batch of production combat missiles later in the year for delivery from 2020 onwards. The combat variant will be furnished with a 144 kg high-explosive blast/pre-fragmented warhead.


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