The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s first Type 218SG submarine, started sea trials on Monday. This is the first of three Invincible-class submarines under construction at Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems Shipyard (TKMS) in Kiel, Germany. The first Type 218SG submarine, named RSS Invincible, was officially launched during a ceremony in Kiel on 18 February 2019. The Invincible-class submarines are equipped with significantly improved capabilities. They are fitted with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems based on Fuel Cell technology, which will allow the submarines to stay submerged about 50% longer. The Invincible-class submarines are also carrying a combat system designed by both Atlas Elektronik and ST Electronics.
The Invincible-class (also known as Type 218SG) is a class of submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP) ordered by the Republic of Singapore Navy from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. Type 218SG is based on the design of Type 216 concept submarine from Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft. Four submarines were ordered and the lead vessel RSS Invincible was launched in February 2019. These submarines, along with the previously acquired Archer-class, will replace Singapore’s Challenger-class submarines. DCNS competed to supply 3 submarines to the Singapore Navy for $1.8 billion. On 16 May 2017, Singapore defence minister Ng Eng Hen announced an order of 2 more Type 218SG submarines for a total of 4. The first 2 will be delivered in 2021 and 2022, while the remaining 2 will be delivered from 2024.
The customised design is oceangoing and larger than the Challenger-class and Archer-class submarines operated by the Singapore Navy. The design is expected to be influenced by the export Type 214 submarine or Type 216 submarine, which have been designed for the potential needs of several other navies. Features will include AIP and a combat system designed by both Atlas Elektronik and ST Electronics. The Invincible class also features an “X” rudder “which offers enhanced manoeuvrability in confined littoral waters, as opposed to the Type 214’s cruciform rudder arrangement.” They are believed to have Horizontal Multi-Purpose Airlock, which can be used to launch either torpedoes, divers, or special forces assault teams, and also have the capability to launch cruise-missiles while submerged with an option for Vertical Multi-Purpose Airlock, for launching missile vertically.