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Brazilian President Lula launches Scorpene-class submarine Tonelero with Macron.


| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Brazilian MoD on March 27, 2024, the Navy launches the third Scorpene class (Riachuelo class) submarine Tonelero built by the French company Naval Group.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Brazilian Navy submarine Tonelero. (Picture source: Brazilian MoD)


This event marks the completion of the third Diesel-Electric Submarine (S-BR) under the Brazilian Submarine Development Program (PROSUB), a landmark initiative reflecting Brazil's strategic partnership with France since 2008 for technology transfer in submarine construction.

The ceremony, which took place on March 27, was highlighted by the expected attendance of Brazil's President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, alongside the President of France, Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron. The First Lady of Brazil, Janja Lula da Silva, had the honor of sponsoring the new vessel, signifying its role in defending the nation and its "Blue Amazon" marine territory.

PROSUB has brought numerous advantages to Brazil, including job creation, specialized workforce development, technological advancements, and bolstering the national defense industry.

The program is instrumental in enhancing Brazil’s defensive capabilities, particularly through submarines equipped with advanced sensors, missiles, and torpedoes. These assets serve as a potent deterrent due to their stealth and lethal potential, compelling adversaries to allocate significant resources for detection and engagement.

The “Tonelero” incorporates features from the French Scorpène-class submarines, adjusted to meet the specific operational needs of the Brazilian Navy (MB). It exceeds its French counterpart in size, with a length over 71 meters and a submerged displacement of 1,870 tons. Post-launch, it will undergo a series of tests to assess its maritime stability, navigation, and combat systems.

This initiative is part of Brazil’s broader strategy to protect its maritime sovereignty and expand its naval force. Since the launch of the National Defense Strategy in 2008, Brazil has aimed to develop a significant naval force, leading to the construction of four diesel-electric submarines domestically.

Technical data

The submarine has a displacement of 1,900 tons and a length of 70.62 meters, complemented by a beam of 6.2 meters and a draft of 5.8 meters. Its propulsion mechanism comprises four MTU 12V 396 SE84 diesel engines along with one Jeumont-Schneider EPM Magtronic electric motor, generating a combined output of 3,909 horsepower. This enables the vessel to reach a top speed of 21 knots, applicable to both surfaced and submerged states.

It is designed for considerable operational range and endurance, capable of traveling 6,000 nautical miles at 8 knots on the surface and 550 nautical miles at 4 knots while submerged. The submarine's operational parameters include an endurance of 70 days and the ability to operate at a test depth of up to 400 meters.

The vessel accommodates a crew of 32. It is outfitted with the DCNS Submarine Tactical Information and Command System, integrating various sensors and processing systems for enhanced command and control capabilities.

Its suite of electronic warfare and decoy systems, including the Thales DR 3000 ESM receiver, ITT AR 900, TSM 2233 Eledone, Safare & S-Cube, and DCNS Contralto-V.

For armaments, the submarine is equipped with six 533 mm torpedo tubes, alongside an arsenal that includes eight SM-39 Exocet anti-ship missiles, 18 F21 heavy torpedoes, and the capacity to lay 30 naval mines.


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