Singapore Buys New Class of German Attack Submarines

December 4, 2013 10:00 AM
An undated photo of a German-built Type 212 diesel attack submarine.
An undated photo of a German-built Type 212 diesel attack submarine.

Singapore has inked a deal with German submarine builder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems for two new Type 218SGs— a previously unknown type of attack submarine.

The Nov. 29 contract for the two diesel electric boats (SSKs) includes training and logistics package for the two new submarines for a package that could be valued as high as $1.36 billion, according a report from Reuters news service.

The boats will also feature Singaporean systems, hence the SG designation.

The new SSks will field an air independent propulsion system (AIP) and will deliver sometime in 2020.

AIP systems allow diesel powered SSKs to operate for longer underwater than traditional diesel electric boats.

Traditional SSKs needed to replace the air in the boat to allow the diesel engines the air they need for internal combustion. AIPs use onboard chemicals to mimic the oxygen needed to ignite the fuel and allow the boats to stay under longer and minimize the risk of detection.

But beyond the broad outlines of the contract deal, little is known about the specifics of the Type 218. Germans have built the older 1960s era designed Types 209s and the newer Types 212 and 214 for export and its unclear if the new boats are derivations of any of the types.

The 214s displace about 1,690 tons submerged with a length of about 213 feet.

The buy breaks with Singapore previous SSK buys from Sweden. Singapore fields six former Swedish Navy attack boats.

Singapore and several other countries in the region have actively plussed up their submarine forces in the last several years.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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