Brazil's ProSub program making progress?

Grey Havoc

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9 October 2009
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Rousseff stressed Brazil was committed to peace but also needed its defense deterrent, as she inaugurated a naval shipyard in Rio de Janeiro state where the country's first nuclear-powered sub is set to be built in partnership with France.

"We can say that with these installations we are entering the select club of countries with nuclear submarines: The United States, Russia, France, Britain and China," said Rousseff.

Known as the Metallic Structures Construction Unit, the factory in the city of Itaguai near Rio de Janeiro is part of the ambitious ProSub program launched in 2008.

Under the scheme, France will supply Brazil with four conventional submarines and help develop the non-nuclear components of the South American powerhouse's first nuclear-powered attack submarine.

Brazil already has the uranium enrichment technology required for producing nuclear fuel and wants to use it to power the submarine.

The 7.8 billion reais ($3.95 billion) ProSub program aims to protect the country's 8,500-kilometer (5,280-mile) coastline and huge deep-water oil reserves.

The defense ministry said the first of the four conventional Scorpene-class subs will be delivered to the Brazilian Navy in 2017, while the nuclear-powered vessel will be commissioned in 2023.
The level of Brazilian technology inserts and development work, as opposed to license construction and technology transfer, was not announced when the deal was signed, as it needed to be fleshed out during the design phase. Mercopress reports in 2010 suggest that the Brazilian submarines will be about 5m longer compared to other Scorpenes, with another 100 tonnes displacement. The Scorpene’s AIP section adds 8.3m and 305 tonnes, so if Mercopress is correct, the added size is not related to any decision re: AIP.

Expected Scorpene costs are currently EUR 415 million (currently about $592 million) per boat, and the level of customization required will determine the project’s overall risk profile. This is similar to India’s budget of about $3.5 billion for an even mix of 3 CM-2000 and 3 AM-2000 Scorpene submarines, or $583 million or so per boat. The 1st diesel-electric sub will begin construction in 2011, with an expected in-service date of 2015; submarines #2-4 will enter service in 2017, 2019, and 2021.

According to Brazil’s MDD, the nuclear-powered submarine will be far larger, at 6,000t compared to the diesel-electric boats’ 1,400-1,800 tonnes. This is significantly larger than France’s existing SSN Rubis Amethyste class fast attack boats, which weigh in at around 2,730t submerged, and remains larger than France’s planned 5,300t SSN Barracuda class. Some of this can be accounted for by the need for more space, in order to accommodate larger early-stage nuclear propulsion systems. Even so, the famous USS Nautilus managed to displace only 3,500 tons. The most similar size analogues to Brazil’s proposed submarine is the India’s new Arihant class SSBN, which would raise questions concerning Brazil’s long-term nuclear intentions. Since nuclear weapons are specifically prohibited by Brazil’s current constitution, however, a large SSN fast attack vessel is almost certainly the goal. A 6,000t vessel would fit somewhere between France’s new SSN Barracuda class, and the USA’s 6,450t SSN Los Angeles class.

Construction of Brazil’s nuclear boat is expected to begin in 2015, and it’s expected to enter service in 2021. Cost for the submarine is pegged at about EUR 2 billion, with EUR 1.25 billion assigned to Brazil’s indigenous Project Aramar nuclear propulsion/ power program. DCNS’ role involves assistance with hull technology and construction, and with non-nuclear internal technologies.

Finally, Brazil aims to set up improved naval construction facilities and a base capable of handling nuclear submarines at Itaguai, a port just south of Rio. Brazil’s U209 submarines are currently based out of Rio de Janeiro, but that densely populated city offers too many technical and environmental issues to host nuclear-powered submarines. These construction projects are expected to cost EUR 1.868 billion (6.9 billion Reals). The nuclear submarine base will be built by the Sociedade de Proposito Especifico, or SPE consortium, which includes Brazil’s Odebrecht (50%), France’s DCNS (49%) and the Brazilian Navy (1% “golden share,” with veto power).


Brazil reveals submarine design details at LAAD 2013. The PWR reactor design for the Brazilian Navy’s future nuclear-powered submarine (SN-Br) has been completed with assistance from France. A model of the design, known as the 2131-R, and an actual-size combustion element were on display at the navy’s stand at the LAAD exhibition in Rio de Janeiro. The navy had two separate designs of the SN-Br on display at the stand. A model from the navy’s technology centre in Sao Paulo showed a submarine divided into seven blocks with the PWR reactor positioned amidships eight torpedoes situated at the front of the boat. Navy literature showed a second design with just two torpedo tubes but including six vertical launch missile tubes in the front section of the boat. This version is to displace 4,000t and have a length of 100m and diameter of 9.8m.
I knew we had a topic on this!

Grey Havoc said:

Ambitious projects such as satellites that could bring the internet to the remote Amazon and construction of Brazil’s first nuclear submarine will proceed despite a deep economic downturn, the defense minister told AFP.

Raul Jungmann said he will be in France this Thursday to take delivery of the first of three communications and defense satellites built by France’s Thales and due for launching on March 21 next year.

The nearly six tonne, 2.1 billion reais ($617 million) satellite is at the core of a modernization of Brazil’s military that Jungmann said will still take hits during planned government austerity cuts.

“We know there’s going to be a new fiscal policy with a spending ceiling. We know we’ll have to cut back,” he said in an interview in Brasilia.

However, some projects “are already at an advanced stage and cannot be stopped, like the nuclear submarine or the four conventional submarines that are also being developed in France,” he said. “Three of them are already being built.”

Announced this week France will help Brazil with nuclear propulsion. France has been assisting with both civil nuclear and the Brazilian submarine program for nearly 20 years but for the first time theyve said they will help with nuclear propulsion technology as well, this is possibly as Brazil has hit a road block in its indigenous reactor program. Brazil of course unlike Australia did have a nuclear weapons program from the 70's through to 1985 with the nuclear facilities being put beyond use in 1990.


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