Singapore launched first of four new Type 218SG submarines, ‘Invincible’, at the Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems’ (TKMS) shipyard in port city Kiel located about 90km from Hamburg in northern Germany on Monday.
The RSN, the Defence Science and Technology Agency, German defence contractor thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) worked together on the design and building of the submarine.
“Singapore faces threats in the maritime domain, including terrorism, the shipping of illegal arms, weapons of mass destruction and people, as well as piracy, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen was quoted as saying by Strait Times at the launch of the first Type 218SG submarine Monday.
He also noted that in Asia, defence spending has increased significantly, reaching US$447 billion in 2017, an increase of about 61 per cent from 2008, with many countries modernising their armed forces.
Citing countries such as China, Indonesia, Thailand, India and South Korea that are planning to expand their submarine fleets, Dr Ng added: "In this context, the acquisition of the new Type 218SG submarines is timely."
The new Type 218SG submarine - custom-made to Singapore's needs - will have 50 per cent longer endurance, more firepower, more capable sensors and advanced automation than the current fleet of submarines in the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
It will undergo sea trials in Germany before it is delivered to Singapore in 2021. It is the first of four Type 218SG submarines that are slated to be delivered from 2021 to replace the four refurbished Challenger- and Archer-class submarines that RSN has operated for more than two decades.
Dr Ng also announced the names of the other three Type 218SG submarines Singapore will acquire - Impeccable, Illustrious and Inimitable. They are under construction, and will be delivered from 2022.
As for the other three ships, he said the Impeccable will "(carry) the hallmark of excellence", the Illustrious will leave stories to inspire future generations, and the Inimitable will be "peerless, distinctive and second-to-none".
The Type 218SG is one of the biggest boats ever built in Germany by TKMS. The new submarines are customised for Singapore's operating environment, particularly the shallow and busy waters in the region, and are sold to no other country.
The Type 218SG will be fitted with an Air Independent Propulsion system based on fuel cell technology, which allow it to stay submerged for about 50 per cent longer than the Archer-class submarines.
It can travel at a surface speed of more than 10 knots, and a submerged speed of more than 15 knots. It is armed with eight torpedo tubes and manned by a crew of 28.