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Naval Warfare

BNS Riachuelo (S40)

Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine [ 2020 ]

Brazil expects to commission up to four of the French Scorpene-class diesel-electric attack submarines, the first in 2017.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 12/10/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

BNS Riachuelo (S40) is the lead ship of the emerging four-strong class of diesel-electric attack submarines for the modern Brazilian Navy. The vessel is undergoing construction at the new Itaguai Shipyard in Brazil to later be joined by her sister boats Humaita (S41), Tonelero (S42) and Ango Stura (S43). Riachuelo is expected to be commissioned into service with the Brazilian Navy around 2017.

The Riachuelo and her sisters are born from the French-originated Scorpene-class which also forms the basis of several attack boats for the Chilean, Indian and Malayian navies. The Brazilian offering will be a 75-foot long vessel capable of 21 knots when submerged (approximately 12 knots when surfaced) through a 220-cell battery propulsion and auxiliary systems arrangement. As with other hybrid diesel-electric designs, Riachuelo will utilize its diesel powerplants for surface travel and its electric system for submerged travel, surfacing (at about snorkel depth) to recharge oxygen stores, expel deadly built-up gasses and recharge its battery cells.

The propulsion system will include 4 x MTU 12V396 SE84 series diesel engines coupled with Kermount Industries 580kW generators. Sensors and processing will be made up of an acoustic surveillance system, digital-assisted attack, and dedicated analysis and monitoring hardware. The sonar system will be provided by Thales.

As an attack submarine, the boat will showcase six torpedo tubes cleared to fire the widely-accepted 21" torpedo as well as the French SM-39 "Exocet" Block 39 Mod.2 anti-ship missile. The torpedo of choice is to be the French "F21" model series, a dual-role torpedo weapon featuring high speeds (up to 50 knots) and extended ranges (up to 50 kilometers). The SM-39 missile will be initially launched within a torpedo-type body surrounding the actual missile. This body will then make its way to the surface and release the missile proper, the missile's motor then engaging and leading itself to its intended target.

The arrival of Riachuelo represents a step forward in Brazilian power projection in the South American region. Additionally, the completion of a viable shipyard for the construction of warships will assist in making Brazil a self-sustained military naval power in this part of the world.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Brazil national flag graphic

Program in Progress.


BNS Riachuelo (S40) (Brazil); BNS Humaita (S41) (Brazil); BNS Tonelero (S42) (Brazil); BNS Angostura (S43) (Brazil)

National flag of Brazil Brazil
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Submerged Attack
Traveling under the surface to search, track, and / or engage or reconnoiter areas.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

218.0 ft
66.45 m
20.0 ft
6.10 m
19.0 ft
5.79 m

Installed Power: Diesel-Electric Propulsion; Battery service for submerged travel; 1 x Shaft.
Surface Speed
20.0 kts
(23.0 mph)
5,648 nm
(6,500 mi | 10,461 km)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
6 x 21" Alenia Whithead Black Shark Torpedoes in bow tube launchers (with support for Aerospatiale SM-39 Exocet anti-ship surface-to-surface missiles).

Supported Types

Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)

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