SINGAPORE: Two more Type-218SG submarines from Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems will be added to the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) fleet from 2024, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced at this year's International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) Asia on Tuesday (May 16).
They will join another two such submarines previously announced in 2013 – to be delivered in 2021 and 2022, respectively. These are expected to replace older submarines in the Navy’s fleet.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the new submarines boast design innovations to optimise training, operation and maintenance costs. They will also be equipped with "significantly improved capabilities" like modern combat systems and Air Independent Propulsion systems.
The ministry's contract with the shipbuilders includes a logistics package and a crew training arrangement in Germany.
Calling the move “another important step in the RSN’s modernisation effort”, Dr Ng said that the RSN needed to keep pace with the growth of other navies in Asia – spurred by the need to protect trade and other maritime interests.
“ASEAN countries, Australia, China and India have all increased the strength of their navies, with naval budgets in the Asia Pacific region expected to increase by 60 per cent through 2020,” he said. The minister also highlighted a report by naval defence market analysts AMI International, which estimated that approximately 800 more warships and submarines will operate in the Asia Pacific region by 2030.
“To be effective, the RSN needs to keep pace with this growth of navies in Asia. At steady state, the four Type-218SGs in service will complement each other in maintenance, logistics and operations, and have better capabilities to protect our sea lines of communication,” he said.
Running from May 16 to 18, this year’s IMDEX Asia touts itself as the largest to-date, with 230 participating companies from 29 countries including France, Germany and Italy, and the largest gathering of 28 warships from 20 navies. Senior representatives from the navies of more than 40 countries are also in attendance.