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Brazilian submarine construction program moves ahead

Written by Nick Blenkey

prosub-completo-207SEPTEMBER 17, 2013 — Brazil’s shipbuilding ambitions are not confined to tankers and various vessels to support Petrobras’s offshore activity. They also extend to nuclear submarine construction.

A reminder of this comes with news that the TTS Handling Systems AS subsidiary of Norway’s TTS Group ASA has signed a NOK 130 million turnkey contract covering the design, manufacturing, transportation, installation and commissioning of an 8,000 ton shiplift for the Brazilian Navy.

Designed for the handling of submarines, the delivery also includes the provision of a 110 m long, 20 m wide platform together with its operational and control systems.

The equipment deliveries will be completed in 2015.

Though the TTS Group announcement does not say so, presumably the shiplift is destined for a new complex being built at Itaguaí, south of Rio de Janeiro, to support Brazil’s $9.7 billion PROgrama de SUBmarinos (PROSUB) program and that will eventually include both a shipyard and a naval base.

Under the PROSUB program, Brazil is partnering with France’s DCNS to aquire four modified Scorpene diesel-electric submarines, to be known as the Riachuelo-class, that will be built by a joint venture established by DCNS and its Brazilian partner Odebrecht.

The deal with DCNS will also see the French company deliver the non-nuclear elements of what will be Brazil’s first nuclear submarine.

The Metal Structure Fabrication Unit (UFEM), a key part of Itaguaí complex, was inaugurated by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff on March 1 this year. The shipyard part of the complex is expected to be completed by December 2014 and the naval base is scheduled for 2017. Fabrication of the first four conventional submarines is scheduled to be completed in 2015,with the boars set to be delivered for operation in 2017. The remaining three conventional submarines will be delivered at 18-month intervals. According to Brazil’s Ministry of Defense, the first nuclear-powered submarine will be ready in 2023 and will then undergo sea trials for approximately two years before going into operation.

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