Brazil Develops its First Nuclear Submarine

Brazil Develops its First Nuclear Submarine

By Dialogo
March 26, 2015




The Submarine Development Program (Prosub) is a priority for the Brazilian Navy, its new Commander, Admiral Eduardo Barcellar Leal Ferreira, said upon assuming the post on February 6.

With an expected investment of 1.77 billion Reals (approximately $548.1 million) in 2015 alone, Prosub will provide the country with its first nuclear propulsion submarine. The program was inaugurated in July 2012, and is scheduled to continue its development work until 2025. In addition to manufacturing a nuclear submarine (SN-BR), its objectives include the construction of four conventional submarines, a Metal Structures Manufacturing Unit, and a Shipyard and Naval Base complex.

For now, the SN-BR -- the most elaborate of the five submarines -- is still under design, and the basic plans are expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to the Brazilian Navy.

Meanwhile, three of the conventional vessels are already under construction and assembly. The SBR-1, has been under construction since 2010, and is scheduled for delivery in 2018; currently, its resistant hull in the aft sections are under construction, and production is also being carried out on the non-resistant structures, including the tanks, bulkheads, brackets, and tubing.

The resistant hull of the SBR-2, whose manufacture began in 2014, is also under production; construction of this vessel is expected to be completed by 2020. The most recent project to launch, the manufacture of the SBR-3, began with the cutting of its first structural plate on January 13.

Submarines play strategic role in defense


The submarines under construction will supplement the Brazilian Navy's fleet, which currently consists of five submarines developed between 1980 and 1990 - all referred to as "conventional" since “the source of energy that drives the set of diesel motors and electric generators is diesel/electric,” according to the Navy.

Submersible vessels with diesel/electric propulsion technology have relatively slow speeds – a maximum of approximately 11 kilometers per hour – and they circulate in shallower sea levels, from 50 to 500 meters in depth. Consequently, submersibles are used in accordance with a positioning strategy, available in the limited area once they are on patrol.

Nuclear propulsion submarines, on the other hand, travel more quickly – up to approximately 65 kilometers per hour – and have the capacity to navigate in deeper waters (at least 100 meters below the surface), which facilitates its concealment. Due to these characteristics, these types of submarines are utilized based on a strategy of movement.

“The main role of a Naval warfare submarine is to deny the enemy use of the sea,” according to the Navy. This understanding is based on the definitions established by the National Defense Strategy, which defines Brazil’s policies in this field.

Consequently, Brazil’s first nuclear submarine – which will be approximately 100 meters long and will weigh about 6,000 tons – will play a strategic role in defending the country and its sovereignty at sea.

The current Brazilian fleet “is employed at any point along the Brazilian coast, operating both alone, as well as in coordination with the Navy’s other assets,” according to the Navy. But as they age, these older vessels must be replaced. The four conventional submarines that will be delivered by Prosub will continue to fulfill the same duties, mainly related to patrols near Brazilian ports.

Program boosting national naval industry


Prosub is the result of a partnership with Brazilian company Odebrecht to form Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN), the consortium responsible for building the submarines. It's headquartered in the municipality of Itaguaí, 70 kilometers from the capital of Rio de Janeiro State. There, workers are assembling the vessels and installing the infrastructure for the Shipyard and Naval Base (EBN) and the Metal Structures Manufacturing Unit (UFEM).

Some analysts consider the program a step toward the nationalization of equipment and systems, making it possible to develop a Brazilian Naval industry.



The Submarine Development Program (Prosub) is a priority for the Brazilian Navy, its new Commander, Admiral Eduardo Barcellar Leal Ferreira, said upon assuming the post on February 6.

With an expected investment of 1.77 billion Reals (approximately $548.1 million) in 2015 alone, Prosub will provide the country with its first nuclear propulsion submarine. The program was inaugurated in July 2012, and is scheduled to continue its development work until 2025. In addition to manufacturing a nuclear submarine (SN-BR), its objectives include the construction of four conventional submarines, a Metal Structures Manufacturing Unit, and a Shipyard and Naval Base complex.

For now, the SN-BR -- the most elaborate of the five submarines -- is still under design, and the basic plans are expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to the Brazilian Navy.

Meanwhile, three of the conventional vessels are already under construction and assembly. The SBR-1, has been under construction since 2010, and is scheduled for delivery in 2018; currently, its resistant hull in the aft sections are under construction, and production is also being carried out on the non-resistant structures, including the tanks, bulkheads, brackets, and tubing.

The resistant hull of the SBR-2, whose manufacture began in 2014, is also under production; construction of this vessel is expected to be completed by 2020. The most recent project to launch, the manufacture of the SBR-3, began with the cutting of its first structural plate on January 13.

Submarines play strategic role in defense


The submarines under construction will supplement the Brazilian Navy's fleet, which currently consists of five submarines developed between 1980 and 1990 - all referred to as "conventional" since “the source of energy that drives the set of diesel motors and electric generators is diesel/electric,” according to the Navy.

Submersible vessels with diesel/electric propulsion technology have relatively slow speeds – a maximum of approximately 11 kilometers per hour – and they circulate in shallower sea levels, from 50 to 500 meters in depth. Consequently, submersibles are used in accordance with a positioning strategy, available in the limited area once they are on patrol.

Nuclear propulsion submarines, on the other hand, travel more quickly – up to approximately 65 kilometers per hour – and have the capacity to navigate in deeper waters (at least 100 meters below the surface), which facilitates its concealment. Due to these characteristics, these types of submarines are utilized based on a strategy of movement.

“The main role of a Naval warfare submarine is to deny the enemy use of the sea,” according to the Navy. This understanding is based on the definitions established by the National Defense Strategy, which defines Brazil’s policies in this field.

Consequently, Brazil’s first nuclear submarine – which will be approximately 100 meters long and will weigh about 6,000 tons – will play a strategic role in defending the country and its sovereignty at sea.

The current Brazilian fleet “is employed at any point along the Brazilian coast, operating both alone, as well as in coordination with the Navy’s other assets,” according to the Navy. But as they age, these older vessels must be replaced. The four conventional submarines that will be delivered by Prosub will continue to fulfill the same duties, mainly related to patrols near Brazilian ports.

Program boosting national naval industry


Prosub is the result of a partnership with Brazilian company Odebrecht to form Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN), the consortium responsible for building the submarines. It's headquartered in the municipality of Itaguaí, 70 kilometers from the capital of Rio de Janeiro State. There, workers are assembling the vessels and installing the infrastructure for the Shipyard and Naval Base (EBN) and the Metal Structures Manufacturing Unit (UFEM).

Some analysts consider the program a step toward the nationalization of equipment and systems, making it possible to develop a Brazilian Naval industry.
It's missing information about who is supplying the technology. I heard France is. Very good to know this. The submarine technology is French. The nuclear technology is Brazilian.
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