It was reported that Mdm Ho Ching launched two Singapore submarines made by German ship builder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) in Kiel on Tuesday (13 Dec 2022).
Located in the northern part of Germany, Kiel is one of the major ports of the German Navy, and a leading centre of German high-tech military and civil shipbuilding.
Mdm Ho who is the spouse of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, christened the two new Invincible-class submarines, named Impeccable and Illustrious, by smashing champagne bottles against their hulls.
They are the second and third of four customised Type 218SG submarines built by TKMS for the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
MINDEF plans to have all four submarines in active service by 2024.
Tuesday’s ceremony was officiated by PM Lee and attended by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Singapore defence chiefs were also there.
In an address, Mr Lee emphasised the importance of submarines in helping Singapore to keep its sea routes open. He also thanked TKMS and the German Navy for their support and sharing of expertise, noting the growing defence relations between the two countries.
“The submarines being launched today are a tangible manifestation of our close and productive cooperation,” he said. “Our collaboration on this strategic capability underscores the depth of partnership and trust between our navies and our defence industries.”
At least a S$1b per submarine
According to a report from militaryleak.com last December, the Type 218SG is a class of submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP), which can allow for superior underwater range and durability, and a minimal rate of instability and thermal signature. This greatly expands the strategic advantage of AIP submarines.
Militaryleak.com also reported that the initial deal for the first two submarines was valued at €1.6 billion (S$2.3 billion), including logistics and crew training.
On 16 May 2017, Ng Eng Hen announced an order of two more Type 218SG submarines for a total of four. The first Type 218SG submarine, named RSS Invincible, was also launched at Kiel on 18 February 2019 and started its sea trials in September 2020.
Meanwhile, the government has announced in Budget 2022 that the GST rate will increase from the current 7 per cent to 8 per cent next year with effect from 1 Jan 2023, and 8 per cent to 9 per cent with effect from 1 Jan 2024.