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Tonelero, the third of the four Scorpène-derived submarines being procured for the Brazilian Navy under its Programa de desenvolvimento de Submarinos (ProSub) programme, was launched in Brazil on 27 March 2024.

Built entirely in Brazil by Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN) in partnership with France’s Naval Group, Tonelero was launched at Itaguaí Naval Base in the presence of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Tonelero will soon now start sea trials in order to be delivered to the Brazilian Navy in 2025. Angostura, the last submarine of the series will be launched in 2025, while first-of-class Riachuelo was launched on 14 December 2018 and commissioned on 1 September 2022 and second boat Humaitá was launched on 11 December 2020 and commissioned on 12 January 2024.

Following a Franco-Brazilian strategic defence co-operation agreement signed in 2008, Naval Group’s Scorpène was selected for the ProSub programme in 2009, with the goal of delivering four conventionally powered submarines (SSKs) to the Brazilian Navy alongside an indigenous programme to develop a nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) that Naval Group is also supporting.

The ProSub programme’s Scorpène submarines are manufactured and assembled in Itaguaí by ICN, facilitated by Naval Group transferring technology as well as supplying the submarine design file, manufacturing equipment and technical assistance to ICN.

Teams from the ICN shipyard have also been trained in submarine construction techniques in France as part of a vast training programme for Brazilian welders, formers, pipe fitters and electricians. This training, Naval Group noted in a press release, has enabled ICN to master the entire production process, from sheet metal forming to commissioning and testing of onboard systems.

The Brazilian SSKs are slightly longer than the original Franco-Spanish Scorpène design to carry a larger crew and more food and fuel, facilitating longer patrols at greater ranges. The Brazilian Scorpène submarines will also be equipped with Naval Group’s new-generation F21 heavyweight torpedo, for which Brazil is the first international client.

The launching of Tonelero, the third of four Scorpène-derived submarines being procured for the Brazilian Navy under its ProSub programme, at Itaguaí Naval Base in Brazil on 27 March 2024. (Photo: Naval Group)