UDT Asia: Singapore’s growing underwater confidence
This year the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) commemorates 20 years of submarine operations as it anticipates the arrival of two new ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) Type 218SG submarines in 2020.
The RSN committed to this purchase in 2013, with construction beginning in June 2015 at the TKMS shipyard in Kiel, Germany.
According to a model displayed at IMDEX 2015, the Type 218SG will displace around 2,000t, will be 70m in length, 6.3m wide and feature an X-rudder that is optimal for shallow-water littoral operations.
The RSN’s small but potent submarine force currently consists of two Challenger-class diesel-electrics and two Archer-class air-independent propulsion submarines, all of which are refurbished ex-Swedish Navy boats.
After almost two decades of capability and capacity building between Sweden and Singapore, the RSN opened a Submarine Training Centre at Changi Naval Base in March 2015. It meets all operational training and qualification requirements for submariners with realistic simulators.
Elsewhere, in terms of underwater technology and in line with a vision to operate a fully autonomous mine countermeasure fleet, the RSN has operationalised the Hydroid Remus 100 and the ECA K-Ster expendable mine disposal vehicle into upgraded Bedok-class mine countermeasure vessels.
The portable REMUS was used with great flexibility during the search for AirAsia Fight QZ8501, where it was airlifted by a C-130 and operated from an Endurance-class LST.
‘The full suite of unmanned mine countermeasure capabilities that the RSN will have in the near future will enhance the mission effectiveness in dealing with mines and waterborne improvised explosive devices,’ explained Lt Col Gerald Lee, commanding officer of 194 Squadron.
He added, ‘The key advantages it will offer are the ability to lower the risk to our men and women, and increased sustainability in operations.’