PM Lee to officiate new RSN submarine launches in Germany before attending Asean-EU summit in Belgium

The submarines are called "Illustrious" and "Impeccable".

Ilyda Chua | December 11, 2022, 02:23 PM

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will make an official visit to Germany, from Dec. 12 to 13.

He will meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the city of Kiel in Northern Germany, and officiate the launch of two Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) submarines, dubbed  "Impeccable" and "Illustrious".

During PM Lee’s absence, Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, will be the Acting Prime Minister from Dec. 12 to 16, 2022.

Submarine launch

PM Lee will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, and his wife Ho Ching to witness the launch of the new submarines.

The Invincible-class or Type 218SG submarine is designed for operations in Singapore's shallow and busy tropical waters.

The first of four German submarines in total for the Republic of Singapore Navy was ready in 2019. They can stay submerged about 50 percent longer than the Challenger and Archer-class submarines, and carry a wider range of mission payloads.

They are manned by a crew of 28, the same as with the Navy's existing submarines. But the advanced automation and sense-making systems on board will allow the new boats to be run on three instead of two watches or shifts, thereby reducing the strain on the crew.

Asean-EU cooperation

PM Lee's trip comes shortly after Scholz's first official visit to Singapore in Nov. 2022.

During that visit, both leaders agreed to deepen collaboration between the two countries in areas such as defence, education, and climate action, reported the Straits Times.

PM Lee will also attend the Asean-European Union Commemorative Summit on Dec. 14.

The summit marks 45 years of Asean-EU dialogue relations, said the Prime Minister's Office in a statement on Dec. 11.

It will also be the first commemorative summit since Timor-Leste received in-principle acceptance into the bloc — a move which PM Lee reaffirmed during a meeting with the island nation's leader on Dec. 8.

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Top image via Republic of Singapore Navy/FB.