Military Factory logo

CS O'Higgins (SS23) Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine

 Updated: 4/7/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

CS O'Higgins SS23 is a Chilean Navy diesel-electric attack submarine born from the export-minded, French-and-Spanish-built Scorpene-class.

CS O'Higgins (SS23) is one of two Scorpene-class diesel-electric attack submarines fielded by the nation of Chile (the other being CS General Carrera SS22 detailed elsewhere on this site). O'Higgins was laid down on November 18th, 1999 and launched on November 3rd, 2003. She was formally commissioned into the Chilean Navy on September 8th, 2005 and makes her homeport out of Talcahuano. The two boats were ordered by the service to replace a pair of outgoing Oberon-class submarines in the same role.

The Scorpene-class is a boat group developed jointly by engineers of France (DCN) and Spain (Navantia, now DCNS) primarily for export sale. As such, the vessels have been purchased by several foreign parties including Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, and India to supply a modern underwater attack capability augmenting existing ocean-going force strength. Nineteen vessels were originally planned for the group but four have since been cancelled and five having been completed. Seven more are to see commissioning between 2016 and 2021.

The class showcases varying lengths between 200 feet and 230 feet. Beams and draught are consistent at 20 feet and 18 feet respectively. Power is through a diesel-electric arrangement with Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) in play allowing for maximum speeds reaching 20 knots and ranges out to 6,500 nautical miles. The crew and boat can stay underwater and away from homeport for over a month before requiring refueling and resupply. A typical crew complement is just 31 men. The vessel displaces in the 1,725 ton (short) range.

In terms of armament, the class is appropriately outfitted with 6 x 533mm (21") torpedo launch tubes in the bow. Each boat can carry as many as eighteen reloads and can also fire the French SM.39 Exocet anti-ship missile or deploy up to thirty naval mines in contested waters.

CS O'Higgins (SS23) Technical Specifications

Service Year: 2005
Type: Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine
National Origin: Chile
Ship Class: Scorpene-class

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Complement (Crew): 31
Length: 218 feet (66.45 meters)
Beam (Width): 20 feet (6.10 meters)
Draught (Height): 19 feet (5.79 meters)

Surface Displacement: 1,668 tons

Installed Power and Base Performance

Engine(s): Diesel-Electric Propulsion; Battery service for submerged travel; 1 x Shaft.

Surface Speed: 20 knots (23 mph)
Operational Range: 5,648 nautical miles (6,500 miles, 10,461 km)

Armament / Air Wing

6 x Alenia Whithead Black Shark Torpedoes in bow tube launchers.
Aerospatiale SM39 Exocet anti-ship surface-to-surface missiles.

Aircraft: None.

Global Operators


Ships-in-Class (19)

CS Carrera (SS-22); CS O'Higgins (SS-23); KD Tunku Abdul Rahman (Malaysia); KD Tun Abdul Razak (Malaysia); Unnamed Indian Navy (S50); Unnamed Indian Navy (S51); Unnamed Indian Navy (S52); Unnamed Indian Navy (S53); Unnamed Indian Navy (S54); Unnamed Indian Navy (S55); Riachuelo (S40) (Brazil); Humaita (S41) (Brazil); Tonelero (S42) (Brazil); Angostura (S43) (Brazil)