The Scorpene class submarines are part of a new class developed by DCNS (former DCN) of France and Navantia of Spain.Chile has ordered two of these new submarines to replace the Oberon Class submarines (retired in 1998 and 2003).
In June 2002 the Royal Malaysian Navy also ordered two Scorpene submarines and in October 2005 India placed an order for six Scorpene submarines that will be built at Mazagon dockyard in Bombay.
Launched in November 2003, O’Higgins, the first of the new class, was built in Cherbourg by DCNS and was delivered in September 2005. The second vessel to enter the Chilean Navy, Carrera, was built at the Cartagena shipyard in Spain by Navantia. Launched in November 2004 and commissioned in July 2006 Carrera arrived in December 2006 in Talcahuano, homeport of the vessel.
The two submarines ordered by the Royal Malaysian Navy are to enter service in 2009 and India is expecting the Scorpene to be delivered between 2012 and 2017.For now the only two Scorpene in operation are O’Higgins and Carrera, in service with the Chilean Navy.
With a maximum depth of 350 m, the Scorpene is able to achieve an average of 240 days at sea. The structure of the submarine uses high-yield stress-specific steel which allows for as many dives to maximum depth as necessary. Also the Scorpene allows for a greater load of fuel and ammunition thanks to the use of high-tensile steel that reduce the weight of the hull. The planning and design of the Scorpene was directed towards achieving an extremely quiet vessel with a great detection capability and offensive power. By using advanced hydrodynamics with an albacore bow shape the Scorpene has low radiated noise reducing risk of detection from enemy sensors. The equipment is mounted on elastic mountings and the noisiest systems have double elastic mounting. This greatly reduces the risk of noise profiles to be radiated outside the submarine.
Able to carry out anti-submarine or anti-surface ship warfare operations, as well as special forces deployment in coastal waters, the Scorpene is manned by a 31 man crew. The control room and the living quarters are mounted on an elastically supported and acoustically isolated floating platform. All living and operational areas are air-conditioned. The vessel is equipped with all the necessary systems to provide vital supplies, water, provisions, regeneration of the atmosphere, to ensure the survival of all the crew for seven days.
The Scorpene class submarines come in three subtypes: Basic, Basic-AIP (with MESMA air-independent propulsion) and Compact. The Scorpenes used by the Chilean Navy are of the first type. To lessen the submarine’s vulnerability, the vessel can be equipped with an air independent propulsion system such as: the Stirling engine, the fuel cell, the closed circuit diesel and the Module d’Energie Sous-Marine Autonome (MESMA) system. The MESMA anaerobic system can be fitted on standard CM-2000 vessels to upgrade them to AM-2000 standard. With the MESMA system the Scorpene’s underwater time is increased by a factor of three while performance characteristics reamain largely the same. By using the MESMA system the submarine’s length increases (76.2 m overall length for AM-2000 compared to 63.5 CM-2000) and also its submerged displacement (1,870 t AM-2000 and 1,590 t for CM-2000).
Overall Length 63.5m
Submerged Displacement 1,590t
Surface Displacement 1,450t
Pressure Hull Weldable and High-Tensile Steel 80HLES, more than 700Mpa
Maximum Operating Depth 350m
Submerged Speed Over 20 kt
Range (at 8kt) 6,400nm
Endurance 50 days
Torpedoes / Missiles Six 21in torpedo tubes for 18 torpedoes / missiles
Here are two videos: the first is a Scorpene promotional video and the second a news report on the Indian vessels to be constructed at Mazagon