German news magazine Der Spiegel reported this week that after a last-minute approval of arms deals in the billions by Angela Merkel’s departing government, Germany’s weapons exports reached a record level in 2021, despite the government only acting in an executive capacity at the time. The former government approved deals worth almost 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in its last nine days in office. That brought Germany’s total weapons exports to a record 9.04 billion euros for the year. Under the last-minute agreements, Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems may deliver three MEKO A-200 EN frigates to Egypt; Diehl Defence has been authorized to deliver 16 IRIS-T SLS/SLX air defense systems to Egypt; and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is allowed to export additional Type 218 SG submarine to Singapore.
On 26 September 2021, elections proved inconclusive, although the Social Democrats (SPD) won the most votes. This necessitated long negotiations among the various parties to form a government. On 23 November 2021, a new coalition was announced, with Olaf Scholz nominated to succeed Merkel. The three agreements were approved by the Federal Security Council, which includes not only the chancellor but also several ministers, such as the minister of finance. The Finance Minister under the previous Merkel-led government was Scholz, meaning Germany’s new chancellor was aware of the agreements. Then-Economy Minister Peter Altmaier sent a letter about the deals on December 7 to Bundestag President Bärbel Bas, one day before the swearing-in of Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Merkel continued to serve as chancellor in a caretaker capacity until 8 December 2021, when Scholz was sworn in.
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. The initial deal for two submarines was valued at €1.6 billion, including logistics and crew training. On 16 May 2017, Singapore defence minister Ng Eng Hen announced an order of two more Type 218SG submarines for a total of four. The first two will be delivered in 2021 and 2022, while the remaining two will be delivered from 2024. The first Type 218SG submarine, named RSS Invincible, was launched during a ceremony in Kiel on 18 February 2019. She has started its sea trials in Sep 2020. 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.
The customised design is expected to be influenced by the export Type 214 submarine or Type 216 submarine. 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.” The X rudder is used on the Type 212 submarine and its larger and newer derivative, the Dolphin 2-class submarine built for the Israeli Navy which is almost identical in size to the Invincible-class submarine (Israel and Singapore have extensive military ties and frequently procure the same weapon systems). 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, like the Tomahawk or Naval Strike Missile.