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SG launches fourth Invincible-class submarine in Germany, total cost approx. S$2.4B

The Singapore Navy launched its 4th Invincible-class submarine in Kiel, Germany. In Jan 2023, WP MP Gerald Giam asked the total cost. Defence Minister refrained from specifics but referenced similar class subs costing around S$600M each, totaling S$2.4B for the fleet.



SINGAPORE: The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) on Monday (22 April) launched its fourth Invincible-class submarine, named Inimitable, specifically engineered for operations within Singapore’s waters.

The launch ceremony took place at the thyssenKrupp Marine Systems (tkMS) shipyard in Kiel, Germany, officiated by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Located in the northern part of Germany, Kiel is one of the major ports of the German Navy and a leading centre of German high-tech military and civil shipbuilding.

Ms Teo Swee Lian, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean’s sister and the designated lady sponsor for the event, initiated the launch by pressing a button, which triggered mechanisms smashing a bottle of champagne against the submarine’s hull.

The ceremony drew the presence of notable figures including Federal Minister for Defence Boris Pistorius, Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How, Chief of German Navy Vice-Admiral Jan Christian Kaack, RSN Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Sean Wat, CEO of tkMS Oliver Burkhard, and senior defence officials from both countries.

The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) of Singapore emphasized in a news release that the fourth submarine’s launch signifies a pivotal milestone in the navy’s ongoing modernization journey, boasting increased endurance and payload capabilities.

“With the help of our German friends, we have delivered a submarine which is uniquely Singaporean – specially adapted for our waters, and fitted with advanced digital systems to meet our mission and operational needs,” Mr Teo, who also serves as the Coordinating Minister for National Security.

Highlighting Singapore’s strategic position along major international shipping routes, Mr Teo underscored the importance of safeguarding these vital sea lanes.

He emphasized that the new submarines would significantly bolster the Republic of Singapore Navy’s capability to fulfil its mission of ensuring the security of regional maritime communication routes.

Mr Teo reiterated the enduring partnership between Singapore and Germany, emphasizing the fourth submarine as a testament to their strong and longstanding relationship.

He noted that while this marks the conclusion of the Invincible-class submarine series, the partnership will persist, with tkMS continuing to provide technical training and support for the RSN and ST Engineering in operationalizing these vessels.

Oliver Burkhard, CEO of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, emphasized: “The submarines built in this project are the most modern conventional submarines the world has ever seen. They belong to a new, state-ofthe-art generation and are also the largest submarines built in Germany to date. It is the result of hard work, commitment and the collaboration of many talented people that has led us to this success.”

Following the naming ceremony, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and ST Engineering signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly enhance the capabilities of Singapore’s Type 218SG submarines over their operational lifetimes.

It expands on the earlier Teaming Agreement signed in December 2022 to cover collaboration on selected technologies and applications in the areas of additive manufacturing (3D printing), maintenance training, data analytics and obsolescence management.

Singapore’s new generation submarines

The 70-meter-long Inimitable marks the culmination of a project initiated in 2013, commissioned by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) to TKMS for the construction of four Type 218SG submarines.

Following its launch, Inimitable will proceed to undergo a series of sea trials before its eventual delivery to Singapore.

In December 2022, the RSN celebrated the launch of the second and third submarines in the new Invincible-class series, named Impeccable and Illustrious, respectively.

Mdm Ho Ching, the spouse of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, christened the two submarines by smashing champagne bottles against their hulls.

The first, Invincible, had been launched in 2019.

These Invincible-class submarines are meticulously tailored for operations within Singapore’s shallow and bustling tropical waters.

The four submarines are currently in the process of being transported to Singapore and are expected to be fully operational in Singaporean waters by 2028.

Impeccable returned to Singapore last year and is presently undergoing a series of local sea trials, progressing toward full operational readiness and eventual commissioning later this year, as stated by the ministry.

According to MINDEF, the Invincible-class submarines boast longer endurance underwater and enhanced sensor capabilities, demonstrating increased speed both on the surface and underwater, with speeds exceeding 10 knots on the sea surface and over 15 knots when submerged.

These stealthier vessels are capable of staying submerged for 50% longer periods and manoeuvring more effectively through Singapore’s shallow and busy waters.

According to tKMS’s press release, the Type 218SG submarines are designed for “low signature operations.” The air-independent propulsion system gives the boats a long underwater endurance.

Source: tKMS

Defence Minister cautioned on cost disclosure to safeguard Singapore’s military assets

During a Parliamentary session in January 2023, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen disclosed that the total expenditure for the four Invincible-class submarines ordered by Singapore amounted to approximately S$2.4 billion.

At the time, Gerald Giam, the Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC, filed a Parliamentary Question to inquire about the total cost of the four submarines, their annual maintenance expenses, a comparison with the total cost of ownership of the current Archer-class and Challenger-class submarines, and the rationale behind replacing these older submarines.

However, Dr Ng refrained from providing specific figures for the acquisition or maintenance costs of Singapore’s military assets, citing concerns about inadvertently revealing the capabilities of certain components such as additional weapons or protection systems.

Nevertheless, Dr Ng referenced similar acquisitions by other militaries like Turkey and Korea, indicating that each submarine typically costs around S$600 million at the time of purchase, resulting in a total of S$2.4 billion for a fleet of four submarines.

“This amount is comparable to a fleet of 12 F15s in the RSAF. Maintenance costs per year is usually 2-3% of the capital cost of platforms, ” Dr Ng added.

Dr Ng also justified the need to replace the ageing Challenger and Archer submarines, which are over 60 years and 40 years old, respectively.

He explained that these older submarines were initially acquired by the RSN to build experience and expertise.

With over 20 years of operation, Dr Ng emphasized that it was timely to acquire the new Invincible-class submarines, which are better suited to Singapore’s operational environment and security challenges for the next three decades.

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If tak laku.( never get to deploy it ) after some years, sgov can convert it to an underwater B&B…
Another 1st in the world…for SIN CITY

There goes your cpf monies

“Invincible” submarines operating in shallow waters. Open season for even land based systems. Forget about other submarines.

Another standby getaway for MIW clowns.

Australia has 6 submarines.
Indonesia had 4, 1 sank awhile back. Now they have 3.

And we need 4 of the latest AIP submarines?
To do what?

If wanna “punch above your weigh”, go buy an aircraft carrier complete with it’s air wing la!
Waste of money!