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Recent Images Reveal Singapore’s Fourth Type 218SG Submarine “Impeccable” Nearing Completion

The integration of four Type 218SG Invincible-class submarines—named "Invincible," "Impeccable," "Illustrious," and "Inimitable"—is poised to significantly elevate the underwater warfare capabilities of the Republic of Singapore Navy to a new level. This strategic enhancement comes as the navy has previously relied on second-hand submarines from the Archer and Challenger classes for its undersea operations.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — A recent photograph taken by photographer Eckhard Uhrbrock vividly captures the near completion of Singapore’s fourth Type 218SG Invincible-class submarine, dubbed “Inimitable.”

 The image strongly suggests that the vessel is undergoing the final stages of its physical construction, preparing it to enter sea trials.

Upon completion of its sea trials in the waters around the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) shipyard in Kiel, Germany, this fourth Type 218SG Invincible-class submarine will be ready to be handed over to its final operator, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

Upon arrival in Singapore, “Inimitable” is expected to undergo further sea trials conducted by the RSN before its official commissioning into the fleet, a process similar to that of another Singaporean Type 218SG submarine, “Impeccable.”

In July last year, the Republic of Singapore Navy officially accepted its first of the four Type 218SG Invincible-class submarines ordered from Germany, “Impeccable,” according to a statement released by the republic’s Ministry of Defence.

Singapura
“Impeccable” (MoD Singapura)

 

Launched in Kiel, Germany, on December 31, 2022, “Impeccable” is designed for operations in Singapore’s shallow and busy tropical waters.

Singapore and TKMS signed two separate contracts in 2013 and 2017 for the acquisition of four Type 218SG Invincible-class submarines named “Invincible,” “Impeccable,” “Illustrious,” and “Inimitable,” all tailored to meet Singapore’s specific requirements with unique features.

Previously reported, the lead submarine of the Type 218SG Invincible class, RSS Invincible, was launched in 2019 but remained in Germany for crew training purposes.

 The second submarine, “Impeccable,” has been in Singapore since last year, undergoing advanced sea trials by the Republic of Singapore Navy, before its official service commissioning.

 The latest Singaporean submarine arrived in the republic’s waters aboard the heavy load carrier “Rolldock Storm” via the Strait of Malacca.

Singapura
Singapore’s Type 218SG submarine in Kiel, Germany. (credit Schlepp-und Fahrgesellschaft Kiel)

 

 Currently, only the third and fourth submarines, “Illustrious” and “Inimitable,” remain at the TKMS facility in Kiel, Germany.

 The Type218SG Invincible-class, RSS Illustrious, was launched in December 2022 and is likely undergoing its final sea trials in Kiel, Germany, before its return to Singapore.

For regional submarine capability analysts, Singapore’s four Type 218SG Invincible-class submarines represent the most modern, largest in size, and most capable undersea assets in Southeast Asia.

The design of Singapore’s latest submarines is reportedly similar to Israel’s Navy Dolphin-2 submarines, possibly including sensor systems, and were also constructed by TKMS subsidiary HDW.

Weighing approximately 2,200 tons, Singapore’s Type 218SG Invincible-class submarines can operate 50 percent longer than the republic’s existing submarine fleet, equipped with superior weaponry and sensor systems.

Singapura
(TKMS)

 

The addition of “Invincible,” “Impeccable,” “Illustrious,” and “Inimitable” will significantly enhance the underwater warfare capabilities of the Republic of Singapore Navy, which previously relied on second-hand Archer and Challenger-class submarines.

The inclusion of these four submarines will further bolster the Republic of Singapore Navy’s ability to safeguard and defend the critically important Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs), essential for the republic’s survivability.

These latest Singaporean submarines, weighing 2,000-2,200 tons when submerged and capable of speeds up to 15 knots, are about 70 meters in length and over 6 meters in width.

Equipped with eight torpedo tubes capable of launching 533mm caliber torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, they also feature Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology using Fuel Cells, allowing for 50 percent longer submersion times compared to other submarines.

The combat systems are designed by Atlas Elektronik and ST Electronics, highlighting these vessels’ specialized design for effective operation in Southeast Asia’s shallow and busy waters.

“Among the key features of Singapore’s latest submarine design is its capability for special forces missions,” according to submarine expert H I Sutton on the defense news portal, Navalnews.com.

Singapura
“Illustrious” (via web)

 

He referenced the Horizontal Multi-Purpose Airlock system, enabling the launch of torpedoes, divers, and special forces (commandos), as addressing primary concerns such as countering terrorist threats.

Additionally, there’s an option for equipping a Vertical Multi-Purpose Airlock for vertically launching missiles.

 Some regional analysts suggest that Singapore is preparing its navy to operate “Tomahawk” cruise missiles if necessary.

Singapore’s Defence Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen has stated that as naval forces in India, South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia seek to expand their submarine fleets, Singapore’s acquisition of four Type 218SG submarines from Germany is a “correct step.” — DSA

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