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Germany’s TKMS launches two submarines for Singapore

Singapore Type 218SG submarine launch
Photo: TKMS

German submarine specialist thyssenkrupp Marine Systems held a ceremony for the launch of two submarines for the Republic of Singapore Navy at its shipyard in Kiel.

The Type 218SG boats that were launched on December 13 are the second and third in the class for Singapore. TKMS launched the first submarine, RSS Invincible, in 2019, and the boat is expected to be commissioned soon.

Among the 350 guests invited to the launch of Impeccable and Illustrious were German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, defense minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen and other high-ranking representatives of Germany and Singapore.

TKMS also has a contract for a fourth submarine in the class, which is currently under construction. The company said boats two and three would be handed over from 2023 onwards, once further trials have been conducted.

Singapore’s Type 218SG feature an external air-independent propulsion system, which allows the boats to remain under water for a longer duration. With a length of approximately 70 meters and a displacement of around 2,000 tons, they are currently the largest submarines ever built at Marine Systems.

Following the double naming ceremony, TKMS and Singapore-based ST Engineering signed a teaming agreement, which covers both warranty services as well as in-service support for the four Invincible-class submarines, ensuring that they are maintained in Singapore during their operational lifetimes.

“We can be proud that German companies like thyssenkrupp Marine Systems are leaders in the construction of submarines,” chancellor Scholz explained in his speech. “Each of these submarines … is a one-off with a lot of manual work and maximum precision. That is a clear signal. … And I am therefore also extremely pleased that thyssenkrupp Marine Systems will expand its production in Germany and will also start production at the Wismar site from 2024.”

“Our collaboration on this strategy capability underscores the depth of partnership and the trust between our navies and our defense industries. I am confident that the relationship between Germany and Singapore will grow from strength to strength, and I look forward to more meaningful interactions between our militaries,” Singapore’s prime minister Lee added.