Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine
The successful Scorpene-class diesel-electric boat is a joint-venture program of France and Spain with an eye to the export submarine market.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
French and Spanish submarine-building experience was paired to produce the "Scorpene-class" group of conventional, diesel-electric boats for the export market. The class has gone on to be featured in the inventories of the modern Brazilian, Chilean, Malaysian, and Indian underwater fleets. Brazil is set to receive four total boats while Chile and Malaysia has been operating two apiece. The Indian Navy has committed to six of the type.
The Scorpene-class encompasses four "sub-groups" based off of the original design, these being designated "CM-2000", "AM-2000", "CA-2000", and "S-BR". The CM-2000 marks the basic diesel-electric design offering while the AM-2000 introduces an Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system to the mix for enhanced endurance at-sea. The CA-2000 is dimensionally smaller and made to suit coastal patrol / deterrence sorties due to its compact and manageable size. The S-BR model is a dimensionally larger form developed to satisfy a Brazilian Navy requirement.
Scorpene boats began construction in 1999 and the first vessels were commissioned in 2005. A total of nineteen were planned from the outset with eight completed, five under construction, and four ultimately cancelled (as of 2019).
The submarine has a submerged displacement value of 1,725 to 2,200 tons (short) depending on operating nation. Dimensionally, it (CM-2000) carries a length of 202 feet (though this varies cross-nation), a beam of 20 feet, and a draught of 19 feet. The propulsion scheme is a standard diesel-electric arrangement that involves marine diesels and battery packs. Maximum speed is around 12 knots when surfaced and 20 knots when submerged. Mission endurance ranges from 40 to 50 days depending on fuel and onboard food stores. The AIP system can add a further 20 days to the endurance of the boat. The hull is tested to depths of 1,150 feet (350 meters).
Aboard is a complement of thirty-one men. Armament is centered on 6 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes (all bow-facing) supporting the Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei "Black Shark" torpedo family (18 x Reloads carried). Additionally, the tubes can fire the SM.39 "Exocet" anti-ship missile and dispense naval mines from a supply of thirty.
The boat's silhouette is traditional: a rounded, well-contoured sail is positioned towards the bow and contains the dive planes. The nose section is rounded and houses a sonar fit. The aft-section of the hull tapers to a point to which a traditional cruciform-pattern tailplane arrangement is seen. The propeller unit is extended aft of the tailplanes and is not shrouded.
The AM-2000 has a displacement of 2,060 tons while the S-BR displaces at 2,200 tons. Length of the former reaches 230 feet while the latter showcases 246 feet.