Brazil expects to have its first nuclear powered submarine in 2021, to be built in the country with French cooperation and equipped with conventional weapons, confirmed Defence minister Nelson Jobim who underlined the dissuasion potential of such a weapon recalling the Falkland Islands conflict of 1982.
The cooperation program with France includes the construction of four other conventional submarines (similar to those already purchased by Chile) and will demand an investment in the range of 9 billion US dollars, said Jobim during a hearing this month before the Brazilian congress.
Jobim underlined that the agreement with France is conditioned to the transfer of all the technology referred to nuclear powered submersibles, which would represent a “huge technological leap” for Brazil’s naval industry.
“Many Brazilian industries such as those involved in the manufacturing of hulls, pumps, hydraulic and compressed air systems, among others will experience a formidable technological development”, added Jobim.
France is also in a privileged position for the renewal and refurbishing of Brazil’s Air Force equipment, which could mean Dassault Mirage fighter bombers could be assembled in Brazil with a percentage of local components.
The minister said that from a strictly defence point of view the dissuasion capacity of the Brazilian Navy is essential since the service is responsible for the patrolling of 8.000 kilometres of ocean coast.
Jobim also argued that having a nuclear powered submarine is probably the most dissuasive of all weapons and recalled the experience of the Argentine navy during the South Atlantic conflict of 1982.
The mere deployment of an only British nuclear submarine “intimidated” the Argentine navy surface fleet to remain in port without having been involved in combat.