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Scorpène class submarines are the latest SSK class from DCN to be based on the proven Améthyste class. The Scorpène family comprises three types: Scorpène Basic, Scorpène Basic-AIP and Scorpène Compact. The designs are being developed in parallel with the French Navy's next generation of SSNs and SSBNs.

The Scorpène family, the latest medium-size submarines from DCN, combine innovations inspired directly by France's new-generation SSNs and SSBNs with excellent size- and cost-effectiveness ratios. Developed in cooperation with E.N. Bazán, Scorpène submarines are designed for missions ranging from ASW and ASuW to special operations and intelligence gathering while out-performing current and anticipated threats.

Scorpène submarines combine the latest advances in hull shape and modular construction with state-of-the-art technologies, including synchronous propulsion motor, two-stage turbo-charged diesel engine, high capacity batteries. The overall architecture is optimized for reduced noise. The hull shape is designed for quiet running and to maximize the efficiency of the vessel's own acoustic arrays. Each item is selected for its silence, and equipment mountings and installations made quiet by design.

Scorpène's high-performance integrated combat system offers flexibility and reliability. Multifunction consoles give each operator full control over array deployment, surface sensors, weapons, and countermeasures. Scorpène submarines can launch a variety of 21-inch weapons, including wire-guided torpedoes and pop-up antiship missiles.

The choice of type 80 HLES high-yield steel for the pressure hull - the same as used for the French Navy's nuclear submarines - allows unlimited diving to more than 300 m while offering greater freedom for tactical manoeuvres. There is no limit on the number or duration of dives to maximum depth.

Scorpène's modular design readily accommodates the Mesma air-independent propulsion system during construction (Scorpène Basic-AIP) or at any stage of the cycle life. Mesma increases submerged endurance by a factor of 3 to 4. Risk of detection is radically reduced since the vessel spends much less time at snorkel depth recharging batteries.

The Shipmaster IPMS moni-tors all submarine plant and subsystems. Functions such as piloting, diving/safety, and power/propulsion are fully integrated allowing officers and crew to concentrate on high-level tasks. The highly automated IPMS and combat system reduce workloads to the point where a Scorpène with a crew of 30 is more effective than an earlier generation submarine with a crew of 50. Comfortable work areas and quarters provide excellent living conditions for optimal crew efficiency throughout the mission.

DCN International proposes:

  • Scorpène Basic, already selected by two navies, with conventional diesel/electric propulsion.
  • Scorpène Basic-AIP offers basic Scorpène qualities plus Mesma AIP for improved endurance.
  • Scorpène Compact is ideal for operations in littoral waters. Uses diesel engines for surface propulsion, AIP for prime underwater propulsion, and diesel/ electric for added flexibility.

Scorpène Basic is the latest medium-size submarine from DCN. She features state-of-the-art developments derived directly from France's new-generation SSNs and SSBNs and offers excellent size- and cost-effectiveness ratios. For navies requiring extended underwater endurance, Scorpène Basic is available with the Mesma air-independent propulsion system. Key capabilities include:

  • Powerful military asset
  • Outstanding combat system
  • Modular design
  • Proven AIP for extended endurance
  • Reduced life-cycle costs

Scorpène Basic combines years of DCN experience in coastal and ocean-going submarine design. The result is a highly effective platform for weapons developed to match the threats of the coming decades. Key capabilities include:

  • Powerful weapons payload
  • Unrivalled stealth at all speeds
  • Remarkable transit and underwater endurance
  • Highly automated platform and combat system.

The advanced combat system combines proven weapons handling and fire control with a complete sensor suite. Weapons handling is fast, silent and flexible. The positive discharge system allows any tube-launched weapon to be launched safely and silently at any depth. For detection, Scorpène Basic offers state-of-the-art acoustic sensors plus a range of above-water sensor options, all mounted on the sail.

Mesma extends submerged endurance by a factor of 3 to 4. The AIP plug can be installed in a new-build vessel or as part of an overhaul and refit program. The submarine's discretion is in no way compromised since the Mesma module is double suspended and contains no reciprocating machinery.

Scorpène Basic is designed for a basic crew of 31, just half the number required to perform a comparable workload aboard an earlier generation submarine. Life-cycle costs have been slashed by reducing alongside maintenance time and extending the interval between overhauls.

Scorpène Compact is a shortened version of the Scorpène Basic designed for maximum effectiveness in littoral warfare. The shorter hull ensures improved manoeuvrability and lower observables without compromising her capacity to remain in hostile waters without snorkelling. To avoid the danger of snorkelling in coastal waters, Scorpène Compact uses the Mesma AIP as a main power source for transit and patrol. One diesel-generator set is provided for surface propulsion and battery recharging in friendly waters, allowing liquid oxygen to be saved for operations in less friendly areas.

Scorpene represents the state of the art in submarine design and construction and benefits from the latest technologies developed for nuclear-powered classes operated by the French Navy, particularly as regards acoustic discretion and combat system performance. Excellent endurance makes the Scorpene one of the few medium-displacement designs suitable for extended ocean patrol duties. The modular design can also be readily tailored to each customer's specific mission profiles and other requirements.


This program confirms DCNS's know-how as a leading prime contractor for sophisticated warship programmes. With ten units ordered to as of early 2009 (two for Chile, two for Malaysia and six for India), Scorpene is truly an international benchmark in SSK design. With ten units delivered or on order as of 2012, Scorpene is a global benchmark in conventional-propulsion submarine (SSK) design. The two boats delivered to Chile – Carrera and O’Higgins – are operational and based in Talcahuano. Their performance in the course of international exercises has demonstrated the design’s remarkable capabilities as well as the quality of construction. KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first of two Scorpenes ordered by Malaysia, was handed over in January 2009 as the first submarine ever to enter service with the Malaysian Navy. The second, KD Tun Razak, reached its homeport in July 2010. Two navies now have Scorpene submarines in operational service.

The Indian Navy placed an order for six Scorpenes in October 2005. The first is scheduled for delivery in 2014 with the others to follow at a rate of one per year. Scorpene gives DCNS an excellent baseline for meeting a wide range of needs, hence the operational requirements of all navies. Scorpene combines advanced technologies, competitive pricing and low cost of ownership. The four conventional-propulsion submarines ordered from DCNS by the Brazilian Navy to renew its submarine fleet are an evolution of the Scorpene design tailored to specific customer requirements.

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Page last modified: 10-06-2013 16:48:32 ZULU