Scorpène-class submarine

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Tunku Abdul Rahman at Port Klang, September 2009
Royal Malaysian Navy's Scorpène-class submarine KD Tunku Abdul Rahman
Class overview
Name: Scorpène class
Preceded by: Agosta class
Cost: US$450 million
Built: 1999-present
In commission: 2005-present
Planned: 19
Building: 5
Completed: 7
Cancelled: 4
General characteristics
Type: Submarine
  • 1,565 tonnes (1,725 short tons) (CM-2000)
  • 1,870 tonnes (2,060 short tons) (AM-2000)
  • 2,000 tonnes (2,200 short tons) (S-BR)[1]
  • 61.7 m (202 ft) (CM-2000)
  • 70 m (230 ft) (AM-2000)
  • 75 metres (246 ft) (S-BR)[1]
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft)
Draught: 5.4 m (18 ft)
Draft: 5.8 m (19 ft)
  • 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) (submerged)
  • 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph) (surfaced)
  • 6,500 nmi (12,000 km) at 8 kn (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) (surfaced)
  • 550 nmi (1,020 km; 630 mi) at 5 kn (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) (submerged)
  • 40 days (compact)
  • 50 days (normal)
  • 50+21 days (AIP)
Test depth: >350 metres (1,150 ft)[2]
Complement: 31
Armament: 6 x 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes for 18 Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes or SM.39 Exocet anti-ship missiles, 30 mines in place of torpedoes

The Scorpène-class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines jointly developed by the French Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) and the Spanish company Navantia, and now by Naval Group. It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP).

The Chilean Navy ordered two Scorpène-class boats, which replaced two Oberon-class submarines retired by the Chilean Navy. In 2005, the Indian Navy ordered six Scorpène-class; all the Indian boats will be built in India, at Mazagon Dock and elsewhere, and the last two are to be fitted with an Indian Fuel cell AIP module.[3] For the follow-on requirement of six submarines, DCNS plans to offer a larger version of the submarine to the Indian Navy.[4] In 2008, the Brazilian Navy ordered four Scorpènes.

The Chilean Scorpène-class O'Higgins and Carrera were completed in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In 2009, the Royal Malaysian Navy commissioned Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak. The Indian Navy commissioned Kalvari in 2017.

Scorpène characteristics[edit]

The Scorpène class of submarines has four subtypes:[5] the CM-2000 conventional diesel-electric version, the AM-2000 AIP derivative, the downsized CA-2000 coastal submarine, and the enlarged S-BR for the Brazilian Navy, without AIP.[6]

The Chilean and Malaysian boats are fitted with the TSM 2233 Mk 2 sonar. The class can also be fitted with an 'S-Cube' sonar suite from Thales.[7]

Air-independent power[edit]

The French Module d'Energie Sous-Marine Autonome (MESMA) system is being offered by the French shipyard DCN for the Scorpène-class submarines. It is essentially a modified version of their nuclear propulsion system with heat being generated by ethanol and oxygen. The combustion of the ethanol and stored oxygen, at a pressure of 60 atm (6.1 MPa), generates steam which powers a conventional turbine power plant. This pressure-firing allows exhaust carbon dioxide to be expelled overboard at any depth without an exhaust compressor.

Each MESMA system costs around US$50–60 million. As installed on the Scorpènes, it requires adding a new 8.3-metre (27 ft), 305-tonne hull section to the submarines, and enables a submarine to operate for more than 21 days under water, depending on variables such as speed.[citation needed]

Some of the submarines built for the Indian Navy will have phosphoric acid fuel cell-powered AIP modules designed by the Naval Materials Research Laboratory of the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).[8][9]

DCNS is also developing second-generation hydrogen fuel cell AIP modules for future Scorpène models.

Scorpène information leak[edit]

In mid-August 2016, The Australian newspaper reported that design details of the Scorpène-class submarine and other ships had been leaked.[10] The leaked information spreads over 22,400 pages and includes detailed information about the submarine's combat and stealth capabilities.[11] The leak also included information about noise levels, submarine frequencies and more.[12] Despite all the information leaks, Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba was quoted as saying that the leaks were being viewed "very seriously", but were "not a matter of much worry".[13] The report also suggested that an ex-French Navy officer working as a sub-contractor for DCNS may have been the source of the leak, and that the leaked data may have been written in France in 2011.[14] However, on 30 August 2016, a court in New South Wales temporarily banned The Australian from releasing any more confidential data on the Indian Scorpène-class submarines.[15]



In 2009, Brazil purchased four enlarged Scorpènes for US$9.9 billion with a technology transfer agreement and a second agreement to develop a French/Brazilian nuclear-powered submarine. The hull of the first S-BR (S35) was laid down at Cherbourg on 27 May 2010 and is to be jumboized at the Brazilian Navy Shipyard in Sepetiba in late 2012.[1] The latter three submarines will be built there entirely, and are planned to be commissioned in 2018, 2020, and 2021. The nuclear-powered submarine could be a variant of the Scorpène class (which would make it similar in concept to the Rubis-class submarine) or one of the more powerful Barracuda class.[16]

INS Kalvari (S21) of the Indian Navy


In 2005, India chose the Scorpène design; purchasing six submarines for US$3 billion (US$500 million per boat). Under a technology transfer agreement, the state-owned Mazagon Docks in Mumbai will manufacture the submarines, and deliver them between 2012 and 2016,[17] however the project is running four years behind schedule.[18] Construction started on 23 May 2009.[7] India plans to incorporate the DRDO-developed air independent propulsion (AIP) system onto the last two submarines being built and also to equip the P75I submarines, of which the DCNS is participating in the tender process.[19] In November 2014, reported that the DRDO-developed AIP system for the last two Scorpène submarines for the Indian Navy has been developed and would be ready for testing in February 2015.[20] The first Scorpène submarine, named INS Kalvari, was undocked for the purpose of starting sea trials in April 2015 and will be delivered in September 2016.[17] In August 2016, over 20,000 confidential pages of the submarine's manual were leaked by Australian media,[21] stirring up a controversy about the impact to India's ambitions of fielding a blue-water navy.[22] DCNS answered that those documents were not crucial.[23] After extensive sea trials, Kalvari was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 14 December 2017.[24]


In December 2016, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence announced that Norway would sign a contract for four new submarines before the end of 2019. These would either be Scorpène vessels from DCNS or German U-boats from ThyssenKrupp. Norway would also be looking into possible cooperation on maintenance and construction with other potential buyers of the same submarines, such as Poland or the Netherlands.[25][26] In February 2017, the Norwegian Government announced that it intended to procure its new submarines from the German manufacturer, ThyssenKrupp. Norway and Germany will buy submarines together to mutualize expenses. In practice the tender was cancelled and exclusive government to government negotiations were initiated.


On 1 March 2011, the Naval Shipyard Gdynia of Poland and DCNS offered a license to build a yet undisclosed number of modified Scorpène-class boats. The Scorpène design is competing with that of the German Type 214 submarine.[27]


In 2003, the Spanish government ordered four Scorpène AIP submarines worth €1,756 million.[28] However, the Spanish navy canceled the order, and ordered four S-80-class submarines, instead. This has caused conflicts and controversies between DCNS and Navantia, as the latter is still involved in the construction of the submarines sold to India, Malaysia, and Chile, while the S-80 is offered on the export market.[29] As an answer to the competition from the S-80, DCNS designed its own enhanced version of the Scorpène called the Marlin class, but little is known about this design and the Scorpène is still offered by France on the export market. The dispute was settled when Navantia gave up export rights on the Scorpène class, leaving DCNS with sole responsibility for the project.[30]


Pennant no. Name Country Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
SS-23 O'Higgins  Chile 18 November 1999 1 November 2003 8 September 2005 Talcahuano
SS-22 Carrera  Chile November 2000 24 November 2004 20 July 2006 Talcahuano
KD Tunku Abdul Rahman  Malaysia 25 April 2004 23 October 2007 January 2009 Sepanggar
KD Tun Abdul Razak  Malaysia 25 April 2005 October, 2008 December, 2009 Sepanggar
S21 INS Kalvari  India 1 April 2009 6 April 2015 [31] 14 December 2017[24][32] [33] Vishakhapatnam / Mumbai
INS Khanderi  India October 2011 12 January 2017[34] Late 2018 (expected)[35][36] Vishakhapatnam / Mumbai
INS Karanj  India December 2012 31 January 2018[37] 2019 (expected)[35][32] Vishakhapatnam / Mumbai
INS Vela[38]  India TBD Expected in 2020[35][32] Vishakhapatnam / Mumbai
INS Vagir[38]  India TBD Expected in 2021[35][32] Vishakhapatnam / Mumbai
INS Vagsheer[38]  India TBD Expected in 2022[35][32] [39] Vishakhapatnam / Mumbai
S40 Riachuelo  Brazil 27 May 2010 Mid- to late 2018 (expected)[40][41] Expected in 2020[40] Itaguaí
S41 Humaitá  Brazil 1 September 2013 September 2020 (expected)[42] TBD Itaguaí
S42 Tonelero  Brazil Unknown December 2021 (expected)[42] TBD Itaguaí
S43 Angostura  Brazil Unknown December 2022 (expected)[42] TBD Itaguaí


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Nicolas von Kospot (2 June 2010). "First Steel Cut for Brazilian Submarine Programme". Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  2. ^ "Scorpene® 1000". DCNS. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  3. ^ Anandan, S. (30 December 2010). "DRDO working on cutting submarine vulnerability". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  4. ^ France to offer bigger Scorpenes for $5 billion Indian submarine order but Indian not shown interest with DCNS because project delayed 5 to 6 years this is effected to Indian Navy Archived February 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "The Market for Submarines" (PDF). Forecast International. August 2009. Archived from the original on April 17, 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Novas pistas sobre o 'S-BR', o novo submarino convencional Brasileiro". 6 May 2010. Archived from the original on 22 April 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  7. ^ a b [1] Archived March 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "What's New". Defence Research & Development Organization, India. 3 August 2015. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Indian-built Scorpene to carry critical DRDO system". The Hindu. 3 November 2014. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  10. ^ Siegel, Matt; Irish, John (24 August 2016). "France's DCNS says India submarine data leak may be 'economic warfare'". Archived from the original on 15 July 2017.
  11. ^ Laskar, Rezaul H (24 August 2016). "Secret data on Indian Navy's Scorpene-class submarines leaked". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016.
  12. ^ Stewart, Cameron (25 August 2016). "What the Scorpene leak reveals". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 29 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-31. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-29. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
  16. ^ "Novos submarinos da MB: Senado aprova o empréstimo de 4,32 bilhões de euros" (in Portuguese). 2 September 2009. Archived from the original on 10 September 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  17. ^ a b N, Ganesh (7 April 2015). "India's first Scorpène submarine INS Kalvari launched for sea trials". Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  18. ^ Pandit, Rajat (28 August 2014). "Defence minister Arun Jaitley reviews delayed Scorpene submarine project". Times of India. Archived from the original on 29 August 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  19. ^ Anandan, S. (25 March 2014). "DRDO developing onboard equipment monitoring system for submarines". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 July 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  20. ^ "Indian-built Scorpene to carry critical DRDO system (Air Independent Propulsion)". 3 November 2014. Archived from the original on November 3, 2014.
  21. ^ Som, Vishnu. "The $3.5 Billion Leak: Scorpene Submarines Exposed, India Assesses Damage". Archived from the original on 2016-08-26.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  24. ^ a b "Scorpene-class submarine Kalvari, built in Mazagon Dock, inducted into Navy". Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  25. ^ "Nye ubåter - status desember 2016". Norwegian government. Archived from the original on 10 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  26. ^ "Dette kan avgjøre ubåtkjøpet". 9 January 2017. Archived from the original on 10 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  27. ^ Sowula, Sławomir (March 2011). "Gdyńska stocznia chce budować okręty podwodne". Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish) (2011–03–03). Archived from the original on 7 March 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  28. ^ "Scorpene Basic-AIP". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  29. ^ "Scorpène: DCNS et Navantia en instance de divorce". Mer et Marine. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "New India submarine enters water". BBC News. 6 April 2015. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  32. ^ a b c d e "First Scorpene Submarine, INS Kalvari, Likely To Be Commissioned By Prime Minister Modi Next Month". Archived from the original on 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  33. ^ "Scorpenes no more". Archived from the original on 2017-03-18. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  34. ^ "Second Scorpene class submarine Khanderi to be launched on Jan 12". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 2017-01-12. Retrieved 2017-01-09.
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  36. ^ "INS Karanj boosts Navy's firepower". The Hindu. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  37. ^ "Third Scorpene submarine 'Karanj' Launched at Mazagon Docks". Retrieved 2018-01-31.
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  39. ^ Индия одновременно строит шесть подводных лодок типа Scorpene. (in Russian). 5 May 2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  40. ^ a b "Brazil to begin first submarine's integration". IHS Jane's 360. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  41. ^ "NUCLEP delivers stern section for new Brazilian Navy submarine". IHS Jane's 360. 21 July 2016. Archived from the original on 25 July 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  42. ^ a b c "LAAD 2017: Brazilian submarine programme moves into construction". IHS Jane's 360. 11 April 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2018.

External links[edit]