Singapore Orders Two More Long-range Type 218SG Subs from Germany to Fend-off China

By Arthur Dominic J. Villasanta , | May 17, 2017

Scale model of the Type 218SG.

Scale model of the Type 218SG.

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), one of Southeast Asia's fastest growing, has ordered two more oceangoing Type 218SG diesel-electric submarines from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, a leading German defense firm based in Düsseldorf that makes submarines and surface warships.

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RSN ordered the first two Type 218SG boats in November 2013 as part of an ongoing effort to upgrade its ageing submarine fleet in light of China's relentless claim to own the South China Sea through which practically all of Singapore's seaborne trade passes.

"In addition to the two previously announced, the Republic of Singapore Navy will acquire two more Type 218SG submarines to replace its older submarines, with an expected delivery from 2024 onward," said Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen.

The first two Type 218SG boats will be delivered between 2021 and 2022. The other two will be delivered from 2024.

"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 communications," said Ng.

These long-range subs are also well-suited for littoral of near shore operations. This littoral capability is made possible by the sub's "X" rudder, which offers enhanced maneuverability in confined littoral waters.

The subs, which have a range of 19,300 km on the surface and 2,300 km submerged, will have an immense area to patrol to protect Singapore's seaborne trade.

Singapore has witnessed a 20 percent increase in container shipping over the past decade while more than 50 percent of global container traffic moves through the Asia-Pacific, said Ng.

He also noted that 800 more warships and submarines are expected to be operational in Asia-Pacific by 2030, and many of these will be operated by the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Among these warships will be two more PLAN aircraft carriers and their escorting destroyers and frigates.

RSN began operating its first submarines in the 1990s. Its first subs, which consisted of four Sjoormen-class submarines from Sweden, were later reinforced by two Swedish Vastergotland-class submarines (known as Archer-class vessels to the RSN).

The Type 218SG is a customized version of the Type 214 outfitted to the unique requirements of the RSN.

Features found in the Type 218SG include air-independent propulsion (AIP), and a combat system designed by Germany's Atlas Elektronik (sonar systems) and Singapore's ST Electronics (electronics and communications systems).

The Type 218SG has eight 533 mm torpedo tubes capable of firing standard torpedoes and the UGM-84 Sub-Harpoon, the submarine-launched version of the American Harpoon anti-ship missile.

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