The event also celebrated new successful steps forward for all Scorpene submarines of the PROSUB Program currently built by ICN thanks to a transfer of technology and production from French shipbuilder Naval Group:
- The first of class, the Riachuelo, is completing its sea trials, especially with a successful series of dives.
- The Humaitá was launched during the event.
- The Tonelero is going under its integration phase : all the sections have been transferred to the main assembly hall for final assembly of the ship.
- The sections of the Angostura are under construction
U.S. Navy presence
The event took place in presence of Brazilian President, Jaír Bolsonaro, as well as Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Vermont (SSN 792), the first of the “Virginia Block IV” boats of the U.S. Navy.
“It is an honor to visit Brazil’s newest submarine base and see first-hand the Brazilian Navy’s success in the Brazilian Navy Submarine Development Program (PROSUB) through the build of BNS Riachuelo, BNS Humaitá, and BNS Tonelero. The PROSUB program plays an important part in strengthening our bilateral ties and the overall regional security foundation. We will continue to work closely together toward achieving our shared objectives to improve our combined undersea effectiveness.”
Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, Commander, U.S. Submarine Forces.
A strategic Brazilian-French partnership
The Prosub program is a key extension of the strategic defence cooperation agreement signed between France and Brazil in December 2008 in Rio de Janeiro.
In 2009, Naval Group was entrusted by the Brazilian Navy with designing and transferring the technology for the local construction of four conventional Scorpene submarines, as well as for the design and manufacturing assistance for the non-nuclear part of Brazil’s first nuclear-powered submarine. The contract also included the design for the construction of a naval base and a shipyard in Brazil.
What is next for ICN ?
Talking to Naval News, André Portalis, CEO of ICN (the Brazilian subsidiary created by Naval Group and its partner Odebrecht) the PROSUB program as a whole is progressing well and remains on schedule, the next milestones being the delivery of the first-in-class submarine Riachuelo S40 to the customer in the second half of 2021. The schedule of the follow submarines is as follows:
- Humaitá (S41) launched today, delivered in the second half of 2022
- Tonelero (S42) launched in December 2021, delivered in the second half of 2023
- Angostura (S43) launched in December 2022, delivered in the second half of 2024
SN-BR SSN project
According to André Portalis, a large part from the 1,800 employees of ICN will remain busy post 2022 with the beginning of the SN-BR construction as well as others lines of products and services. SN-BR also known as the Álvaro Alberto is the first Brazilian submarine with nuclear propulsion (SSN). Its basic design was just approved and the SSN is set to be launched in 2031.
“The Brazilian Nayv, in its acquisition plan, expressed a need for a total of four nuclear-powered submarine. This is going to take time and the current contract call for the construction of the first one”
Maintenance and Shipbuilding activities
In between the construction of the Scorpene type submarines and the production of the nuclear-powered ones, the company ICN is looking to diversy with two activites:
- The maintenance activity of Brazil’s fleet (both submarines and surface vessels)
- The construction of support vessels for the Brazilian Navy such as ice breakers, hydrographic vessels, MCM vessels, coastal patrol vessels etc…
“While the four Riachuelo-class submarines represent Naval Group’s fourth Scorpene contract, the Riachuelo design has been significantly modified compared to the Indian submarines [ed. note: P-75 program] in order to adapt to the military requirements of the Brazilian Navy. The submarine is different, it is longer in order to store more fuel. The Brazilian coasts called for a long endurance capability. The technologies aboard are modernized and it features a lot of up-to date systems such as the Thales systems onbard. It is also the first submarine built by ICN, a company which was set up from the ground up specifically for this program, a lot of Brazilian companies are involved in the program in a frame of a Nationalization program. At the end, we are very proud because the French technology has been well absorbed by Brazilian teams, up to become today Brazilian Technology. The Transfer of Technology program, a key aspect of PROSUB, is a high success » “
- Surfaced displacement: 1,600 – 2,000 t
- Length, overall: 72 m
- Submerged speed > 20 kts
- Diving depth > 350 m
- Autonomy > 80 days
- Crew: 35
- Weapons total payload: 18
- Weapon tubes: 6
- Operational availability at sea > 240 days per year