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Brazil’s first Scorpene submarine Riachuelo starts sea trials

Scorpene submarine Riachuelo
Photo: Naval Group

Diesel-electric attack submarine Riachuelo (S40), Brazil’s first locally-built Scorpene submarine, started sea trials earlier this month.

According to the Brazilian Navy, the boat got underway without the assistance of tugs, marking the start of a trial period that will test the submarine’s propulsion, navigation and communication systems.

The milestone comes after the submarine first entered the water in December 2018, at the ICN (Itaguaí Construções Navais) assembly facility in Itaguaí in the Sepetiba Bay. The submarine had initially been scheduled for sea trials in 2019 and delivery in 2020. It is unclear whether a delay in the start of trials would delay the boat’s delivery.

Riachuelo is the first of four submarines Brazil is building under a transfer of technology agreement with French shipbuilder Naval Group. The collaboration is the result of a 2009 agreement that will see Naval Group support Brazil’s construction of diesel attack submarines as well as provide design and manufacturing assistance for the non-nuclear part of Brazil’s first nuclear-powered submarine.

Brazil’s Scorpenes have a length of 71.62 meters and a displacement of 1,870 tons. They are designed to be capable of anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare in addition to special operations missions. They are fitted with six torpedo tubes for either F21 torpedoes that are developed by Naval Group or the MBDA-made Exocet missiles.

In addition to Brazil, Naval Group’s Scorpene submarine design has been selected by the navies of Chile, Malaysia and India.