Construction work on the first S-BR Scorpene Class submarine for the Brazilian Navy has begun at a plant near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Brazil and France signed a $4.25bn contract in 2008 for the construction of the four enlarged S-BR submarines, which will be jointly designed by France and Spain.

The submarines will be developed to meet particular specifications of the Brazilian Navy featuring conventional diesel-electric propulsion and will not be equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems.

The 75m-long submarines will have a displacement capacity of 2,000t and can accommodate a crew of 30 to 45.

The four submarines will be designed for all types of missions including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, special operations and intelligence gathering.

The first submarine is expected to enter service in 2017.