PM Lee hails 'uniquely S'pore' submarines built in Germany, both countries reaffirm defence ties

To work together as strategic partners.

Keyla Supharta | December 14, 2022, 05:02 PM

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated the launch ceremony of two Singapore submarines at Kiel, Germany on Tuesday (Dec. 13).

The two submarines, Impeccable and Illustrious are part of the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) four Invincible-class submarines, provided by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (tkMS), a German shipbuilding company.

PM Lee announced that the fourth submarine, the Inimitable will be launched in due time.

The submarines were launched by Ho Ching, who, as the spouse of the officiating officer, was the Lady Sponsor.

Working through the pandemic

"While we put on hold the full ceremonials due to Covid-19 restrictions, we did not let the pandemic delay work on the submarines," PM Lee said.

"Personnel from the RSN and DSTA, as well as tkMS adapted and worked tirelessly to keep up the momentum of this project over these last two difficult years," he added.

The Invincible-class submarines are custom-built for operation in Singapore's shallow and busy tropical waters.

Mindef announced that Invincible-class submarines are supplied with analytical tools that take in information to alert operators on possible collisions with incoming vessels. They are also stealthier and more agile.

Maritime nation

PM Lee made the point that Singapore is a maritime nation, highly reliant on the free and unimpeded movement of goods and materials across the sea for prosperity, and also survival.

"The RSN has the crucial mission of keeping our Sea Lines of Communication open. Submarines provide the RSN an added capability to fulfil this role," he added.

He also pointed out that Singaporean defence scientists and engineers have worked closely with tkMS to modify the Type-214 submarine design, and tailor the on-board systems to suit Singapore’s needs and operational requirements.

For example, the submarines are designed to operate with a smaller crew, given Singapore's small population.

"Because we took considerable steps to custom-design our submarines, they have been classified as a type of their own – the Type-218SG. It is made in Germany, and uniquely Singapore!" PM Lee said.

"To work together as strategic partners"

During his trip, PM Lee met German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz met in Kiel on Dec. 13 and affirmed Singapore and Germany's "longstanding and excellent bilateral ties, in particular, in defence and economic cooperation".

In their meeting, PM Lee and Chancellor Scholz discussed how the two countries can "work together as strategic partners to address global challenges".

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who accompanied PM Lee on his visit to Germany, also met with Germany's Federal Minister of Defence Christine Lambrecht in Berlin on Dec. 14.

The meeting established the two countries' commitment to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation, as agreed in the enhanced Defence Cooperation signed between Singapore and Germany in 2018.

Both ministers also confirmed amiable and growing defence relations between Singapore and Germany during the meeting.

ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit

PM Lee is currently headed to Brussels, Belgium to attend the Asean-EU Commemorative Summit happening on Dec. 14.

The Summit involves Leaders of Member States of Asean and of the European Union.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the "commemorative Summit marks 45 years of ASEAN-EU dialogue relations and is an opportunity for both sides to discuss ways to further deepen ASEAN-EU relations".

Top Image via Lee Hsien Loong/Facebook