RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Brazil has begun building four diesel-powered submarines as part of a 2008 agreement with France that includes the future construction of Latin America's first nuclear submarine.
President Dilma Rousseff attended Saturday's ceremony marking the startup of operations at the shipyard where the four Scorpene attack submarines will be built.
Each submarine will cost about $565 million. The first is expected to be delivered in 2016.
The Brazilian navy says the four vessels represent a first step in moving Brazil toward construction of its first nuclear-propelled submarine.
Officials have said the submarines will be used to protect Brazil's large offshore oil reserves and exploration platforms.