Singapore Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen has launched the country’s first Type 218SG submarine named Invincible at the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ shipyard in Kiel, Germany.

The launch of the advanced diesel-electric submarine represents a significant milestone in the ongoing submarine programme for the Republic of Singapore, noted ThyssenKrupp.

Once construction and outfitting are completed, Invincible is expected to be put through intensive testing prior to delivery to the Singapore Navy in 2021.

Measuring 70m in length, the vessel is the first of four new custom-built Type 218SG submarines being procured by Singapore.

Set to replace the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) current Archer-class and Challenger-class submarines, Type 218SG vessels offers longer endurance, more firepower and greater weapons-carrying capacity.

Dr Ng said: “These new submarines are the products of years of experience and deep expertise from both Germany and Singapore.”

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Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and the RSN partnered with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems to design and build the submarine.

ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems CEO Dr Rolf Wirtz said: “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.”

“These new submarines are the products of years of experience and deep expertise from both Germany and Singapore.”

Singapore signed the contract for the procurement of the first two Type 218SG submarines in 2013 before entering into a second contract for the next batch in 2017.

ThyssenKrupp expects to hand over the second submarine in 2022 and the remaining two from 2024 onwards.

Meanwhile, DSTA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems to jointly work on the development of new technologies such as additive manufacturing and data analytics for naval applications.

The scope of the agreement includes exploring the use of additive manufacturing for producing submarine spare parts.

The parties will collaborate on the design, engineering, and qualification of additive manufactured components.