- Singapore has confirmed an order for a third and fourth Type 218SG submarine
- Acquisition is likely to further fuel the perception of an underwater arms race in the Southeast Asian region
The Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has acquired two additional Type 218SG air-independent propulsion (AIP)-equipped submarines from German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).
A contract for the vessels was announced on 16 May at the IMDEX 2017 maritime and defence exhibition. The contract, which includes a logistics package and arrangements to conduct crew training in Germany, brings the total number of Type 218SGs on order for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) to four, as the country had earlier signed for an initial batch of two boats in 2013.
"Tailored to meet the RSN's unique operational requirements, the Type 218SG submarines incorporate design innovation and advanced maintenance and engineering concepts to optimise training, operation, and maintenance costs," said MINDEF in its statement on the acquisition.
"They will also be equipped with significantly improved capabilities like modern combat systems and air-independent propulsion systems," the ministry added, although no further details were given on these.
According to specifications provided by TKMS, the Type 218SG platform features a perpendicular length of about 70 m, and a pressure hull diameter of about 6.3 m. The vessel displaces approximately 2,000 tonnes when surfaced and can accommodate a baseline complement of 28.
The first two Type 218SG submarines underwent steel cutting in 2014, and are currently scheduled for delivery in 2021 and 2022 respectively. The third and fourth hull are expected to be handed over from 2024 onwards.
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