First of 4 Invincible-class submarines arrives in Singapore

Meant to replace the navy's current submarines, the new diesel-electric submarines have features suitable for their operating environment.

Aqil Hamzah

Aqil Hamzah

The Straits Times


The Impeccable (left) and the Illustrious (right) during their launch in Germany on Dec 13, 2022. PHOTO: ZB FILE

July 24, 2023

SINGAPORE – The first of four Type 218SG submarines custom-made to suit Singapore’s needs has arrived at the Republic’s shores and will undergo local sea trials before becoming fully operational.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said on Thursday that the submarine, Impeccable, was received on the day by seamen from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) in a ceremony at Changi Naval Base.

Those in attendance included Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Sean Wat, senior officers, and submariners.

Impeccable, which was launched in Kiel, Germany on Dec 13, 2022, is one of four Invincible-class submarines designed for operations in Singapore’s shallow and busy tropical waters, Mindef said.

Meant to replace the RSN’s current Archer-class and Challenger-class submarines that were built between the 1960s and 1980s, the new diesel-electric submarines have features suitable for their operating environment.

These include an X-type rudder layout for better responsiveness, pipes that can handle the more corrosive and salty water, and ergonomics that are optimised for a Singaporean crew, whose height ranges from 160cm to 185cm.

“Their induction into the RSN will further enhance its capability to safeguard Singapore and protect its vital sea lines of communication,” Mindef said.

Invincible, which was the submarine to be completed earliest, was launched in 2019.

It was originally slated to be delivered to Singapore in 2021, before its delivery date was revised to 2023 onwards as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is still in Germany to support the training of RSN submariners.

The two remaining submarines, Illustrious and Inimitable, are currently “progressing well in their project development in Germany”, Mindef said.

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