One of the searches in Thomo’s Hole recently was “Scorpene”. My first thought for “scorpene” was the submarine class “Scorpène”. These are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines. These submarines are powered by diesel propulsion as well as an additional air-independent propulsion system ((Air-independent propulsion is a term that encompasses technologies which allow a submarine to operate without the need to surface or use a snorkel to access atmospheric oxygen. The term usually excludes the use of nuclear power, and describes augmenting or replacing the diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels))
The submarines have been jointly developed by the French company, DCNS ((head office at DCNS – Siège Social, 2, rue Sextius Michel, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, http://www.dcnsgroup.com/)) and the Spanish company Navantia ((head office at A-84076397 C/ Velázquez 132. 28006 Madrid, Spain http://www.navantia.es/irj/portal/anonymous?lang=en)).
Fourteen Scorpène have been ordered so far – two for the Chilean Navy to replace the two Oberon class vessels that have been retired; two for the Royal Malaysian Navy; four for the Brazilian Navy; and six for the Indian Navy.
So far two have been completed and are in operation (coming into operation in 2005 and 2006). These are the Chilean Scorpène vessels, O’Higgins and Carrera.
The general characteristics of these vessels are:
|Displacement:||1450 tonnes (compact)
1,700 tonnes (normal)
2,000 tones (AIP)
|Length:||59.4 m (compact)
66.4 m (normal)
76.2 m (AIP)
|Propulsion:||Diesel-electric, batteries and AIP|
|Speed:||20 knots submerged
12 knots surfaced
|Range:||6,500 nautical miles @ 8 knots (surfaced)
550 nautical miles at 5 knots (submerged)
|Endurance:||40 days (compact)
50 days (normal and AIP)
|Diving Depth:||350 metres|
|Armament:||Six 533 mm torpedo tubes with 18 torpedoes carried|
There is a good write-up on these vessels at http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/scorpene/
As a final post script, there is also a link between the Scorpène class submarines and Mongolia, a land-locked country. That link is the murdered Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaariibuu. She was murdered in 2006 in Malaysia when she was shot twice in the head, stripped of her clothing and then blown-up with C4. Two Malaysian special police have been found guilty of the crime and sentenced to death – although they have appealed that sentence.
A well known analyst, Razak Baginda, was implicated in the crime as the police were his protection unit and Altantuya was his paramour. Baginda’s company also received a payout of over 500 million Ringgit for the award of the submarine contract. It has been alleged that Altantuya was murdered when she tried to claim her share of the commission. See the Wikipedia entries for Abdul Razak Baginda and Altantuya Shaaribuu for a general background on that.