TKMS Launches Republic of Singapore Navy’s First Type 218SG AIP Submarine, RSS Invincible

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s first Type 218SG Invincible-class diesel-electric attack submarine, RSS Invincible, was launched at the thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS)’ shipyard in Kiel, Germany on Feb. 18.

This marks another important milestone in the ongoing submarine program for the Republic of Singapore. Prof. Ivy Ng, wife of Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence of the Republic of Singapore, named the boat in the presence of high-level representatives from the Singapore government and Navy, as well as high-ranking German officials. In addition to representatives from thyssenkrupp, there were also representatives from suppliers in attendance for the ceremony. After construction and outfitting is completed, Invincible will undergo intensive testing before being handed over in 2021.

Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Minister of Defence for the Republic of Singapore: “These new submarines are the products of years of experience and deep expertise from both Germany and Singapore. They are a testament to our warm and growing defence ties with Germany. Closely collaborating with our Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), the RSN oversaw the design of the submarines, before jointly developing them with thyssenkrupp Marine Systems. I am heartened by the cooperation and efforts of the Singaporean and German industries.”

Dr. Rolf Wirtz, CEO of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems: “We are proud to be able to take this important step in the life of a boat together with our Singaporean partners. This first boat of the Type 218SG will mark a next generation of submarines. They will possess an extensive range of vital capabilities and therewith become a highly capable strategic asset for Singapore and its Navy.”

Invincible is the first in a series of four boats of the Type 218SG. The contract for the first two submarines was signed in 2013 and the contract for the second batch in 2017. After handing over the Invincible in 2021, the second submarine is scheduled to be delivered in 2022. The third and fourth submarines are scheduled to follow from 2024 onwards.

The boats have the design of a low-signature submarine with air independent propulsion (AIP) – enabling them to stay submerged for a longer period – and numerous tailor-made solutions and new technologies.

Prior to the launch of the Republic of Singapore Navy’s first Invincible-class submarine, Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and thyssenkrupp Marine Systems signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Kiel to collaborate on new technologies such as additive manufacturing and data analytics for naval applications. Under the agreement, DSTA and thyssenkrupp Marine Systems will explore the use of additive manufacturing as an innovative, cost-effective method for producing submarine spare parts. Both parties will work together on the design, engineering, and qualification of additive manufactured components, which could be tested and trialled on Singapore submarines.

Mr Tan Peng Yam, Chief Executive of DSTA: “In this age of rapid change, collaboration is key to exploit novel technologies. We are excited to combine our expertise with thyssenkrupp Marine Systems in additive manufacturing.”

Dr Rolf Wirtz, CEO of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems: “This initiative is a prime example of our understanding of innovation: We are engineering. tomorrow. together. The MOU allows us to test parts manufactured in Kiel with additive manufacturing under real conditions. This is a great asset for us.”

Type 218SG SSK

The Type 218SG Invincible-class submarine is based on Type 214 diesel-electric submarine (SSK) developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW).

These submarines, along with the previously acquired Archer-class, will replace Singapore’s Challenger-class submarines. The customized design is oceangoing and larger than both the classes operated by the Singapore Navy.

They will be equipped with significantly improved capabilities over previous models, such as a new combat system and an independent air propulsion system (AIP) designed by both Atlas Elektronik and ST Electronics. The type 218 also features an “X” rudder “which offers enhanced manoeuvrability in confined littoral waters, as opposed to the Type 214’s cruciform rudder arrangement.

The vessels have an approximate length of 70 meters, a diameter of 6.3 meters and a surface displacement of 2,000 tons. They have a crew complement of 28 people, including officers, non-commissioned officers and sailors.

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