Brazil’s first Scorpene submarine S40 ‘Riachuelo’ starts move to assembly site

First three sections of the Brazilian Navy’s lead Scorpene submarine, the S40 ‘Riachuelo’, were moved from the pre-outfitting site to the assembly site, ahead of the submarine’s launch in the second half of 2018.

The move of three of overall five sections of the Riachuelo took place on January 13 and 14 and saw the 619-ton, 39.8-meter structure complete a five-kilometer journey in 11 hours.

Brazil’s four diesel-electric Scorpene submarines are built at a unique construction site at the Itaguaí Naval Complex comprising production and assembly facilities situated on two sides of the Bay of Sepetiba. The facilities are connected by a 4 km road that includes a 700-meter tunnel.

The Brazilian Navy and company Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN), a joint venture comprised of prime contractor Odebrecht and Naval Group, used a 320-wheeled special vehicle to transfer the first parts of the S40 Riachuelo from the UFEM (Unidade de Fabricação de Estruturas Metálicas) engineering plant to the submarine construction shipyard, on the other side of the bay.

According to the Brazilian Navy, the remaining two sections of the submarine, weighing another 487 tonnes and measuring 30 meters will be transferred soon and the submarine is set for a launch in the second half of 2018.

Should all go according to plans, the S40 will enter service in 2020, some three years later than it was initially planned.

S40 is the first of four submarines to be built for Brazil under an agreement between French Naval Group (former DCNS) and Brazil in 2008. Subsequent contracts signed in 2010 led to the creation of Brazil’s Prosub program which will see France assist Brazil with the construction of four diesel-electric and the development of a nuclear-powered submarine.

The other three diesel-electric submarines, Humaita (S41), Tonelero (S42) and Ango Stura (S43), are all at different stages of construction at UFEM.

Photo: Brazilian Navy