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Singapore, Germany strengthen submarine ties as new Type 218SGs launched

15th December 2022 - 15:00 GMT | by Chen Chuanren in Singapore

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Singapore's Type 218SG Illustrious at ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems' Kiel shipyard. (Photo: author)

The two countries' navies will exchange best practices for submarine training, it was revealed at the joint launch ceremony for two of Singapore's Invincible-class boats as more details of the design emerged.

The Singapore and German governments have announced the establishment of a Submarine Affiliation Programme between the two countries' navies, following a state visit by Singapore's prime minister to Germany

The arrangement will see both navies conducting professional two-way exchanges of best practices on submarine training.

The announcements were made at the joint launch ceremony for the second and third boats of the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) Type 218SG Invincible-class submarines, Impeccable and Illustrious at ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel on 13 December.

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More details of the Type 218SG also surfaced, including a newly designed electric rudder drive developed by TKMS for the RSN. Lt Col Phang Chun Chieh, commanding officer designate of Impeccable, said the rudder will enable the boats to make quick and precise movements in the shallow littoral waters around Singapore.

TKMS CEO Oliver Burkhard told Shephard that this is the most advanced rudder system TKMS has designed, without revealing more.

Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) also added that the submarines' combat management systems are updated with data analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities. This supports functions such as automatically plotting and classifying sonar contacts, and provides navigation and tactical recommendations to operators, reducing crew workload in busy sea lanes.

DSTA is also utilising 3D printing to prototype console design, ensuring the best ergonomics for the Singaporean physique.

At-sea training for Impeccable will start in 2023, and the first Type 218SG, Invincible will return to Singapore in the same year. The fourth boat, Inimitable is currently under construction.

“Before the fourth boat leaves the harbour, I think we should have serious talks whether there is a chance to have a fifth or sixth boat,' Burkhard added, saying that TKMS now has additional submarine building capacity when its Wismar yard opens in 2024.

Chen Chuanren

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Chen Chuanren


Chen Chuanren is Shephard’s Singapore correspondent, covering primarily land and sea systems. He served in …

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