Macron and Lula unveil submarine constructed in Brazil using French technology

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On Wednesday, Presidents Emmanuel Macron of France and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil presided over the launch of a submarine built in Brazil using French technology, marking a milestone in Brazil’s ambition to construct its first nuclear-powered submarine by the decade’s end.

The ceremony took place at the Itaguai shipyard near Rio de Janeiro, where the third diesel-powered submarine in a $10 billion partnership between the two nations was unveiled. With Brazil’s First Lady Janja da Silva christening the submarine Tonelero with a champagne bottle, and both presidents activating a lever to send the Scorpene-class vessel into the sea.
Initiated in 2008 during Lula’s previous presidency, the submarine program, named ProSub, is a collaboration with France’s state-run Naval Group, with defense contractor Thales holding a 35% stake.

ProSub is hailed as Brazil’s most significant international cooperation project in the defense sector, aimed at safeguarding its sovereignty over waters that provide the country with 85% of its oil and 75% of its gas.

With a coastline stretching nearly 7,500 kilometers (4,700 miles), Brazil’s submarine fleet is deemed essential for defending its vast maritime territory, particularly as it develops extensive offshore oil fields in the Atlantic.

Macron’s visit to Brazil, spanning three days, seeks to revive bilateral ties and strategic cooperation that had waned during the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, whom the French leader criticized for insufficiently protecting the Amazon rainforest.

Arriving on Tuesday in Belem, a city in the heart of the Amazon, Macron and Lula reaffirmed their commitment to joint efforts aimed at halting deforestation in the Amazon region by 2030.

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