Work on the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN's) two new Type 218SG diesel electric submarines has started, a MINDEF spokesperson confirmed to IHS Jane's on 29 June.
The spokesperson said Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Lai Chung Han witnessed the steel-cutting ceremony at ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems' (TKMS') facility at Kiel on 24 June, which marked the commencement of construction for the service's future submarines, as part of an official visit to Germany.
Fresh details of the Type 218SG submarine finally emerged during the IMDEX 2015 exhibition that was held in Singapore in May 2015. According to specifications provided by TKMS, the Type 218SG will be 70 m in length, 6.3 m in beam, and will displace approximately 2,000 tonnes.
A company source told IHS Jane's that the Type 218SG is developed from the Type 214 design, although the new submarine has been extended in length to accommodate additional mission systems as well as to support future upgradability.
"The Type 218SG will also use the same air independent propulsion (AIP) system found the Type 214 submarine," the source said. According to IHS Jane's Fighting Ships , the Type 214-class is equipped with an AIP system based on a pair of HDW/Siemens polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell modules that generate up to 120 kW each.
Unlike the RSN's current 1,500 tonne Archer-class SSKs (ex-Type A 17 Västergötland) that were modernised and refitted to accommodate a Stirling Mk 3 AIP system, the Type 218SG will be AIP-capable in its baseline configuration.
The new submarines will replace the RSN's ageing Challenger (Type A 12 Sjöormen)-class submarines, which were first commissioned in the 1960s for the Royal Swedish Navy and acquired by Singapore in the mid-1990s.