Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA May-June 2017 Contents SINGAPORE
The Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) young
but well established fleet of submarines celebrates
their 20th Anniversary this year. Over 20 years
ago, the RSN went on the pragmatic and cost
efficient approach of acquiring five (including
one for spares) ex-Swedish navy Sjöormen-class
diesel submarines as the RSN wished to acquire
knowledge on submarine warfare and operations.
These submarines were later renamed the
Challenger-class, with the lead ship launched in
September 1997 after a major overhaul.
Two Challenger-class boats, the lead ship and
RSS Centurion were decommissioned in 2015,
making way for two refitted Västergötland-class
SSKs. Under the Northern Light programme,
they were plugged with a new 8-metre hull
section housing the Stirling Mk 3 Air Independent
Propulsion (AIP) system, becoming the Archer-
class. Singapore is the first and only navy in ASEAN
to have AIP capable submarines.
The RSN’s submarines are all modernised and
tropicalised, the latter includes changing the steel
pipes and valves that come into contact with
seawater to copper nickel iron pipes to reduce
corrosion, installing a marine growth protection
system to minimise the growth of marine
barnacles on the submarine surface and installing
a freon compressor to enhance the cooling
efficiency within the submarine.
The current armaments of the RSN boats are
Torped (Tp) 613mm; 533mm; Tp 43 400mm and
Black Shark torpedoes.
In 2013, Singapore signed a contract for two
new Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) Type
218SG, and an option for two more. Based on the
specifications by TKMS in IMDEX 2015, the Type
218SG is 70m long, displacing 2,000 tonnes.
The hull and conning tower bears a resemblance
to a stretched Type 214 and like the Swedish
submarines, the Type 218SG features the X-rudder
on the Type 212 for enhanced manoeuvrability
in shallow littoral waters as compared to the
traditional cruciform rudder.
With only 28 crew to run the Type 218SG, it
is likely to feature extensive automation of the
systems. Singapore Technologies (ST) Electronics
will also partner German Atlas Elektronik to develop
the boat’s combat systems.
The first Type 218SG is under construction at
the TKMS Kiel yard since June 2015, and delivery
is expected from 2020 when it will replace the
two remaining Challenger-class SSKs, the RSS
Conqueror and RSS Chieftain.
Concurrent with the geopolitical developments
in the South China Sea, Vietnam has poured a
significant US $5 billion defence budget last year
into new capabilities and platforms. Vietnam is
a claimant state for the Paracel and the Spratly
Islands in the South China Sea.
At the moment, Vietnam possesses the largest
submarine fleet in South East Asia and the sixth
and last Project 636MV Improved Kilo-class SSK
was commissioned at Cam Ranh Military Base
earlier this March.
Hanoi acquired these boats in 2009, in a deal
worth around $2 billion, although the construction
of infrastructure and delivery of other equipment
could bring the value close to $3 billion. All six boats
were constructed in Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard
in St. Petersburg, Russia. According to Indian and
Vietnamese media, Vietnam sent the first batch of
500 submariners to India in 2011, for ‘intensive’
submarine and underwater warfare training.
The Improved Kilo exported to Vietnam features
numerous modifications to those seen on their
Russian and Chinese (636 MK) counterparts. The
Project 636MV are fitted with the GE2-01 multi-
purpose radar and MGK 400E with an improved
digital and high-speed processing unit.
DRA understands that the Vietnamese boats
have an infrared, laser range finder installed
on their periscope optics, giving their Kilos a
better night reconnaissance capability than the
Chinese vessels. The 636MVs are also fitted with
air conditioning and cooling systems for warm
The Improved kilo has six 533mm tubes,
launching TEST-71 heavyweight torpedoes, and
Type 53-65 torpedoes. The deal also includes fifty
3M-54 Klub/SS-N-27 submarine launched cruise
missiles, including the 3M-54E land attack variant,
capable of hitting targets from 300km.
It was reported and confirmed by Vietnamese
sources that the submarines are already underway
and patrolling the waters in South China Sea.
DefenceReviewAsia | MAY/JUNE 2017 13
Indonesian KRI Nanggala (402) navigates the waters for Exercise CARAT with the US Navy.
Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alonzo M. Archer
Concurrent with the geopolitical developments in the South China Sea,
Vietnam has poured a significant US $5 billion defence budget last year
into new capabilities and platforms.
DRA MayJune 2017.indd 13
27/04/2017 4:10 PM
Links Archive DRA March-April 2017 DRA July-August 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page