In the afternoon of Dec 14th. Itaguai Construcoes Navais (ICN) launched the first locally built Riachuelo class submarine for the Brazilian Navy. The S-BR project within the PROSUB, submarine construction plan, came to shape after a strategic agreement between Brazil and France more than a decade ago. A new base and shipyard has been built in Itaguai, near the Brazilian nuclear research and development facilities both existing and new, to build 4 diesel electric submarines and one nuclear. DCNS, now Naval Group, was selected thus to provide the basic engineering for both conventional and nuclear projects.
In this case, the Riachuelo class is based in the Scorpene submarines which are in service in foreign navies now for more than a decade. This design was modified by ICN and the Brazilian Navy with Naval Group’s support in order to be in compliance with the Navy’s endurance requirements.
This S-BR with its 71m is longer than the Scorpene, to accommodate more fuel and supplies necessary for longer patrols but according to ICN sources, the extended hull if required can accommodate a MESMA air independent propulsion (AIP) module. The Brazilian Navy for the time being has discarded such modifications.
The S-40 Riachuelo is the first of four submarines, Riachuelo, Humaita, Tonelero and Angostura to be launched from now to 2023. Government officials soon to be appointed by elected president Jair Bolsonaro, to take office next week, have expressed concerns in correctly addressing the necessary budget to fulfill all commitments and this will require, even considering already allocated funds by the Navy, an effort by current Brazilian economy. This was also expressed in regard of other major military projects such as the construction of the 100m, 6000 tons, nuclear submarine Alvaro Alberto and new surface combatants as for helicopters for the army and new fighters for the Air Force.