Singapore Navy Launches First of Its Four new Submarines
The first of four customised submarines designed for operations in Singapore's shallow and busy tropical waters was launched in Germany on Monday (Feb 18).
Speaking to The Straits Times yesterday at the launch of the first Type 218SG submarine named Invincible, Dr Ng said Singapore faces threats in the maritime domain, including terrorism, the shipping of illegal arms, weapons of mass destruction and people, as well as piracy.
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."
"When we acquired these vessels, we took into account the other militaries around us modernising their submarines," Dr Ng said.
"Like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, and from further afar. Obviously Australians too. So it’s in keeping with the modernisation of militaries in our region."
The 70-metre long vessel will have 50 per cent longer endurance, more firepower, more capable sensors and advanced automation compared to the current RSN fleet of submarines. It will undergo sea trials in Germany before it is delivered to Singapore in 2021.
It is the first of four Type 218SG submarines slated to replace the four refurbished Challenger-and Archer-class submarines that the RSN has operated for more than two decades.
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.
As reported by Channel News Asia, the submarine crew can look forward to larger living spaces compared to the RSN’s older submarines, meaning hygiene on board will improve and the crew can endure longer underwater, said Colonel Teo Chin Leong, Commanding Officer of the 171 Squadron, which will receive the new submarines.
He added: "The crew will be undergoing training in phases. First at an individual level before they move on to operate the submarine as a group."
The three remaining Type 218SG submarines - named Impeccable, Illustrious and Inimitable - are still under construction.