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Brazil launches first Scorpène-class submarine, Riachuelo, featuring Safran systems


At 10 am local time on Friday, December 14, 2018, Brazil launched the Riachuelo, the first of four Scorpène-class submarines ordered from France in 2008. The new submarine features a number of Safran Electronics & Defense’s advanced systems, and was built locally via a technology transfer from Naval Group.

On Friday, December 14, 2018 at 10:00 am, at the Itaguai naval base, Brazil launched their new submarine, the Riachuelo*. The country’s first Scorpène-class submarine, the Riachuelo is above all the first submarine to be built locally, within the scope of the Prosub program, thanks to an unprecedented technology transfer agreement between Naval Group of France and Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN)**. This modern, low-observability submarine will join Brazil’s current fleet of Tupi/Tikuna-class submarines, adding new technological capabilities to bolster its deterrence power in the South Atlantic.

The ship launch received global media coverage, and was attended by a number of military, industrial and political leaders.

Safran Electronics & Defense's contribution

Building on expertise developed in conjunction with the world’s navies for some 70 years, Safran Electronics & Defense supplied a number of systems to the Riachuelo to help it defend national sovereignty:

> SIGMA 40 XP : inertial navigation system.

> Serie 10 navigation radar: for navigation safety and assessment of tactical situations.

> Serie 20 attack periscope : for discreet day/night observation.

> Serie 30 optronic tracking mast : for navigation safety, tactical situation monitoring and self-protection.

Safran Electronics & Defense has already provided inertial navigation system to about 40 navies worldwide, as well as supplying periscopes, radars and optronic masts for over 50 submarines.


Riachuelo Characteristics

Displacement : 1,600 – 2,000 metric tons

Lenght : 72 meters

Test depth : > 300 meters

Endurance : > 45 days

Crew : 35

Operational availability at sea : > 240 days/year


Prosub program

Brazil launched the Prosub program ten years ago and signed a major contract with Naval Group, including the following:

> Construction of a shipyard and naval base at Itaguaï by Odebrecht  (based on plans from Naval Group);

> Construction of a crew training center ;

> Construction of 4 Scorpène-class submarines (based on plans and equipment provided by French industry, including Naval Group and Safran Electronics & Defense);

> Technical assistance by Naval Group to teach Brazil how to build their first nuclear-powered submarine (SNA); the nuclear reactor is not included in the agreement. 


Four other submarines will be built in the coming years: the Humaita, Tonelero and Angostura  Scorpène-class vessels, and the Alvaro Alberto nuclear-powered submarine. Brazil’s ambitious goals for their navy augur well for a long-term collaboration with the French naval industry.


* A naval battle won by the Brazilian navy over Paraguay, fought on the Paraña River during the Triple-Alliance War [1865-1870].
** Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN) : a joint subsidiary of Naval Group (41%) and the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht (59%).