Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Republic of Singapore Navy Type 218SG submarine buy caps 18-year journey in underwater warfare

This week's announcement that Singapore has ordered two new Type 218SG submarines from Germany sends a clear and definitive answer to the question floated more than 18 years ago when defence planners pondered adding subs to the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

When German shipyard ThyssenKrupp delivers the boats from 2020, the Type 218SGs - the world's most modern conventional subs - and two Archer-class subs presently in service will give the RSN the largest fleet of submarines in Southeast Asia (provided regional fleets stay the same).

It is an acquisition to cheer; a prudent hedge against choppy waters in regional sealanes.

With the subs operating in concert with the RSN's six Formidable-class stealth warships - the world's most heavily-armed frigates which can collectively bring into play up to 144 anti-ship missiles - and with the Republic of Singapore Air Force flying top cover, the seaward defences of Singapore will never have been sharper.

The Singapore navy may not have made it this far, if Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and RSN defence planners were not given the time, know-how and resources needed to make an informed case for or against buying subs.

And so, in September 1995, Singapore took the plunge when it bought a single, low-cost second-hand sub from Sweden to see if the RSN should add subs to its fleet. Yes, we bought a submarine to assess if we should add subs to the RSN.

Try before buy
If that leap of logic baffles you, bear in mind that MINDEF/SAF force planners in the 1990s were pitted against a formidable anti-submarine "weapon" - a sceptical and influential politician whose say-so carries some heft. That politician was Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding father.

"Every armed force believes it ought to upgrade. For years I told the Singapore Armed Forces, which wanted submarines 'You are crazy. These are shallow waters. You will easily be detected and bombarded with depth charges.'

"But well, OK. Here is the Swedish submarine. The economy is doing well and it is a cheap sub. Its purchase will still be within the 5 per cent of GDP  assigned to defence. So, why not use it for some training," said Mr Lee in his first comments on the RSN's foray into submarine warfare.(Straits Times 11 Oct 1995)

To his credit, the time and space Mr Lee allowed the RSN has helped shape Fleet RSN into the compact yet credible fighting force it is today.

Sub operations from S'pore
Subs are not new to Singapore. Prior to the Second World War, British naval planners recognised their value even in the shallow seas around Singapore. The Royal Navy's 4th Flotilla of submarines operated out of Sembawang Naval Base. That we heard nothing of their contribution to the Battle of Singapore was due to their redeployment to the eastern Mediterranean during the halcyon two years and three months before the outbreak of war in the Pacific.

As war raged in Europe, the aircraft carrier which operated from Singapore, HMS Eagle, was also reassigned to Mediterranean waters to bolster British naval forces fighting the combined might of German and Italian forces. There, the subs and aircraft carrier from Singapore fought with distinction.

Had they remained in the Far East, it would be fascinating to contemplate the "what-if" scenario involving the Royal Navy's Force Z centered on the battleship, HMS Prince of Wales, the battle cruiser, HMS Repulse, with the weak escort of just four destroyers.

Alas, both Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk on 10 December 1941 by Japanese bombers off Kuantan. But their loss underlined the importance of fighting a naval war in regional waters with a "balanced" navy - which in today's context means having naval forces able to conduct operations against surface, underwater, aerial targets as well as packing an electronic warfare capability to be used against sensors like radars and guided weapons.

MINDEF/SAF defence planners have apparently heeded these lessons well.

In the past 18 years, the RSN has looked at more than merely adding more subs to its order of battle. The first hand-me-down from Sweden, renamed RSS Challenger, was joined by three other Challenger-class boats before a more capable albeit second-hand class of sub, which we renamed the Archer-class, was bought from Sweden.

Uniquely Singapore
Singapore has recognised that submarine support operations are vital too. Today, the RSN is the only Southeast Asian navy with a submarine rescue capability complemented by strong underwater medicine expertise. This is a low-profile capability, arguably less eye-catching and not as sexy as warships with all their guns and missiles, but is one that is nonetheless vital for submariners to have peace of mind while at sea.

Singapore has also used its defence science know-how to give our submarines a secure homeport to operate from. The reinforced concrete submarine pen at Changi Naval Base is probably unique in the region as it allows our subs to berth within a concrete enclosure, protected from the elements, prying eyes and enemy munitions.

Above all, the thousands of defence engineers are a precious asset that has allowed the RSN to order successive generations of subs tailored-made for local waters.

It is no accident that Internet search engines scouring cyberspace have failed to suggest the vital statistics or an artist's impression of our newly-ordered subs. This is because the Type 218SGs are said to be a class of sub specially designed for the RSN. The name change is not merely to allay  suggestions that ThyssenKrupp's current Type 214 subs were rebranded as "214" sounds like "sure to die" in Cantonese while "218" has a more auspicious "sure to prosper" ring to it. :-)

Homegrown expertise
Going forward, the "customised submarines" the RSN will receive from Germany make it clear that homegrown defence science know-how will be used to build a combat information system that forms the heart of the Type 218SG's combat potential.

In this regard, the Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA), which is spearheading the effort  to deliver the subs with German partners, has strong expertise to draw upon. The combat system that ties together various sensors and weapon systems aboard the Formidable-class frigates is the product of Singaporean defence engineers, who delivered the goods despite initial cynicism from foreign defence observers who could not believe the empty frigate hulls could be kitted out by Singaporean hands.

But we did it and several Defence Technology Prizes - the Oscars of Singapore's defence science community - were scooped by various project teams associated with the stealth frigate project.

To be sure, the task at hand for integrating various bits and pieces for a bespoke man-of-war designed to sink and fight from beneath the waves will be complex and will test the diligence and creativity of our defence scientists and naval planners.

However, thanks to the foresight of defence planners 18 years ago, the Type 218SG project team can draw upon nearly two decades of experience in sub operations plus a growing alumni of MINDEF/SAF underwater warfare experts.

One has little doubt that the Type 218SG project team stands to earn its own Defence Technology Prizes in time to come.


Anonymous said...

No specs were given, but there are clues which suggest that the Type 218SG is a customised variant of the yet-unbuilt Type 216.

This would make it a large 90 metre blue-water sub comparable to the Aussie Collins class but a lot more advanced.

Anonymous said...

Another billions to the GLC companies...and what has our NSF men have for their allowances....

So much easy money to spend....just like our $200 million fighter jets...


Anonymous said...

Quote from TRE..

Oh yes, they are rich. But they would rather prefer squeezing the citizens’ coffers to pay for it.
Look at all those perks and salaries for their Gurkha contingent (some 2,000 of them) who are paid professional rates but on the other hand pay our NS men pittance allowance.
It’s like using our NS men’s salaries to subsidise the Gurkhas’ pay.
The Gurkhas bring in their families, relatives and other dependents in tow.
Many are having their children born here in our maternity hospitals to enjoy our social amenities and infrastructures and staying long term with the hope of gaining citizenship.
The Gurkhas are clamouring for more citizenship rights everywhere that they are stationed like in the UK and HKG.
Not surprising, some with only daughters have obtained citizenship
here already.
To keep them in Singapore is not cheap.
Their needs are very well taken care of by our govt. with competitive salaries, subsidised quarters, healthcare and even education for the children right up to tertiary level.
Since our NS sons are paid pittance for their sweat and hard grit,
shouldn’t we ask WP to raise in parliament on this wage disparity and ask for the disclosure of the Gurkhas perks and salaries ?
As far as I see it, there is no value add in the services of the Gurkha.
To say that they are a loyal and heroic lot is a myth.
Most of them don’t look tough enough to earn this reputation.
Our NS boys are any time better.
I can also see many are boisterous, rowdy and rude without showing respects to local Singaporeans when they are on outings or shopping publicly with their families.
If unchecked, overtime they soon may also cast a condescending view on the locals knowing that they themselves are preferred and better treated by our PAP government.
Is there still a need today for their services ?
Or is it that PAP does not trust its own people to maintain security ?
Perhaps they still need them like kind of private army to protect themselves the elites !
What do you think ?

Anonymous said...

Defence companies change names quickly (and I didn't stay up to date). I was wondering why they didn't buy AIP subs from the Swedes (since our 4 Challengers + 2 Archers are from Kockums) and buy German instead. Then I found out Kockums is now ThyssenKrupp Marine. OK, all from same company, less issue with adapting to operational protocols. How will indon adn M'sia respond (in terms of new sub purchase)?

ah seng said...

Proud day for Singapore! One of the best navy in Asia. Our subs will be the best subs in SEA. Come on!

Anonymous 9.18

If you hate our government, leave Singapore. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

I think u are a joke. I am not a fan boy of MIW but reading ur comment is like reading a naive citizen (if u are even 1) who know nothing abt SG history and y we even need a strong defence. One of the main reason we are respect international is becoz we are not push over. And our defence is ensure that. Pls grow some brain cell and read up on the history. No one ensure our well being except ourself

Anonymous said...

ah seng, why do you sound like the Malaysia that you hate?

Do you realise you just said "Jika tak suka politik negara, keluar negara."

Does the country's government belong to you alone?

Anonymous said...

Dear David,

The type designation for the latest HDW model is the 216 as listed below. What will the type 218SG bring ? Will it be nearer to the type 214 or will it be bigger and nearer to the 216 ?

Its interesting the switch in technology support and research from the Swedish Model to the German. I can't for the life of me remember any nation that supports two differing classes of submarines with two differing operational and engineering doctrines

1. The Swedish subs usea Stirling cell AIP, the germans a fuel cell AIP.

2. The Swedes have two classes of torpedoes, the Germans stick to one.

3. They both utilise German C4II fits so less of a compatibility issue for development and customisation.

4. Its interesting the switch and I can only speculate on two reasons. Firstly the delay and lack of traction in the A26 programme amongst the Swedes. The difference between I want that sub now and not a decade later.

5. Secondly the demonstrated second strike option now on offer because of the DOLPHIN. If anything on the balancing scale which would outweigh all the negatives in a switch in main supplier would be a game changing ability. Please note the problems of the MIGs and the Hawks in the RMAF fleet, the Indonesian "cheap" East German Fleet for the issues that might arise.


Anonymous said...

If the government wants to increase the armed forces' capabilities and allay the public's questioning of the price tag, it should make an effort to explain why the new equipment is necessary. The explanations today do a poor job of this.

And of course, the solution to the loyalty deficit is non-military in nature.

Anonymous said...

So let fight a war

The said...

/// while "218" has a more auspicious "sure to win" ring to it. :-) ///

David, a minor point - loss in translation. 218 means "sure to prosper". ;)

Sss said...

Back on topic.

Here's a reasonable primer on the state of the (undersea) in the AP region - although it leaves out Canadian, South American and US boats:

David - a little less hyperbole please - the Formidables are quite well armed for their weight class, but no where near as heavily armed or as capable as bigger 'frigates' like the F124 Sachsen, the DeZeven Provincien or the F100 Alvaro de Bazan.

I mentioned in a previous thread that I had assumed, due the the RSN's Northern Lights project with Kockums and the RSN (Royal Swedish Navy) that Singapore would buy-in to the A26 class, as this would probably involve technology transfer, etc. The September 2013 announcement of the project's delay could have torpedoed these plans, as it would mean that the first RSN boat wouldn't be ready until the mid-20s.

It seems that the ETA of 2020 is quite significant - this may be due to the Challengers reaching 52 years of age by then.

What are the RSN's choices then? Lets consider the number of yards with 'hot' construction capacity:

China - Domestic as well as Pakistan, and perhaps Cambodia & Bangladesh. System incompatibility
Japan - No foreign sales
Spain - S80 has major design issues and the 4 Spanish boats have their delivery delayed to start at 2017.
France - Scorpene line is quite congested with Indian and Brazilian orders till early '20s. Operated by Malaysia.
Russia - Kilos operated by Vietnam, India (one sunk at dock) and China. Lada class had major flaws, and there's concern over build quality and lowball bids. System incompatibility
Korea - License limited to improved Type 209 Hang Bogo for export to Indonesia.

Germany - HDW
Ah.. now this is interesting, because the Type 214 boats are basically not being built at HDW's Kiel yards - both Turkish and South Korean boats are being constructed by local yards, although HDW will more than likely produce quite a percentage of the components.

In fact, there's only one boat currently under construction at Kiel, an improved Dolphin 2 that will be commissioned in 2017, which means that the Kiel yards will then be able to immediately switch production to Singapore's order of two subs for delivery by 2020.

The Improved Dolphin could be an indicator of what will emerge as the Type 218SG - note the size in comparison to a German Navy Type 212A

The boat displaces 2,300 tons and has an STN Atlas Elektronik combat system and fuel cell AIP. The larger hull size in comparison to the AIP equipped 1,500ton Type 212A hints at not only increased space for systems, but power generation for sensors, as seen on larger conventional submarines like the Victoria, Collins and Soryu classes.

David Boey said...

Dear Locke,
Will reserve comment on the size of subs till there's better visibility.

Dear Anon 1:44 PM,
Good points. Am aware and agree. Will address your feedback more deeply in a separate post.

Dear The,
Have amended as suggested. T'kasih.

Dear Sss,
re: Hype. What if the sentence is edited to "which can carry the most anti-ship missiles amongst the world's frigate classes"? SSM warload for the three classes cited is less than a single FFS.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

Personally I think that the new subs will be closer to the 216 than the 212s or 214s, especially if you think of the Archer class as the training ships for new crew. The ratio of 4:2 implies that the new subs will require twice the manpower of the training subs to be manned. Of course with the lack of info, it's still conjuncture.


Kockums is a sub of HDW, so your argument of Swedish vs German makes no sense as they are essentially the same parent company as someone pointed out above.

Anonymous said...

Dear Annoymous,

For a large part of Singapore's submarine history, Knockums was an independent company and builder of submarines for Swedish strategic interests.

The "Swedes " versus " Germans" issues are issues of operationality. engineering and doctrine, The fact that a German manufacturer bought over the Swedish manufacturer does not negate the issues as there is an inbuilt body of doctrine technology and history that was developed before the purchase.

Can u imagine one class of subs using stirling AIP and another fuel cell AIP, I can't really imagine it being possible for one qualified on a swedish sub to be cross qualified on a german built sub. There is an built systemic bias with having trained swedish, bought swedish , and operationalised a swedish system and then having to buy a new doctrine and system and then training on it.

It would take something very important to overcome it and I suspect its the "cruise missile " capability.


Ss said...

David - if I recall correctly, your point was that the max SSM warload of a Formidable is 24 Harpoons.

The Spanish Bazan class carries 8 Harpoons in individual launchers - as well as 48 Mk 41 VLS that can be loaded with Harpoons as well. That's a possible maximum warload of 56 Harpoon SSMs if they decided to forgo any SAMs.

The Formidables would need an upgrade to SLYVER 70 to launch SCALP SSMS, which would then match the Bazans for max SSM warload.

David Boey said...

Dear Ss,
Ah, point conceded. Navies have moved beyond deck-mounted missile racks.

Thank you for the clarification.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

Singapore has to prepare herself for upcoming potential threats

Ss said...

Heh... sorry David. I'm actually the guy who wrote this 9 years ago, so I'm reasonably current on the class (we can discuss my thoughts on the Intrepid upgrades another day)

In honesty, the RSN should consider SYLVER A70 for when the Formidables go in for complex maintenance and overhaul in a couple of years, as they would then have a useful land attack capability if Singapore were to ever acquire the MdCN naval version of SCALP, or Persesus.

blubber said...

"If the government wants to increase the armed forces' capabilities and allay the public's questioning of the price tag, it should make an effort to explain why the new equipment is necessary. The explanations today do a poor job of this.

And of course, the solution to the loyalty deficit is non-military in nature."

Dear Anon,

Some food for thought.

In electing the present government into office (including those who didn't technically vote for the incumbent but because these are the rules of the election game), the people of Singapore have put their implicit trust in the government to look out for their interests. for the purpose of this discussion, i shall focus on the defence aspect.

unfortunately, as with IR and whatnot, to name an enemy is to make one. to specify what the subs are for, would be to somewhat declare an enemy of certain countries, and greatly increase tensions within the region; short of a war declaration. i know it doesn't seem to make a difference, when your capability-matching implies who your enemy is, short of saying it out loud, but i guess these subtleties make a significant difference. i liken it to spying: everyone does it, but within unspoken rules, and as long as boundaries are not breached and one is not caught openly, no one says anything but continues smiling (albeit with a dagger within reach).

consider the alternative, if the government were to be completely open with Singaporeans, and inadvertently, the world, and overtly declares the possible aggressor. it would probably give cause for increased tensions, reduction in diplomatic relations, and an arms race at best- right now it's more an arms dynamic, rather than a race.

would be glad to hear your thoughts on this.

Anonymous said...


By asking that the government explain the purposes of its acquisitions, I am not considering the worsening of relations with any neighbour in the following ways: naming a potential adversary, or stating that a capability is designed to match a neighbour's capability. The government has in the past done the latter, stating that it must prepare to fight potentially hostile foreign governments. In any case, the SAF is running short of neighbours' capabilities to match as it increasingly becomes the first to introduce new capabilities to South East Asia. Singapore does give impetus to accelerate the spiral of arms acquisitions, if you won't call it an arms race.

I am suggesting that in the SAF's public affairs activities, we provide an explanation of how they work and how they can be used. For example, explaining how equipment is used against equipment. The SAF only explains the specifications and basic purposes which are anyway publicly available. It becomes natural to ask why these specifications is necessary, and the SAF does not address this. This is like addressing billion dollar questions with primary school-level answers. The response should be to relate them to our Singaporean context. To some of you, please don't take this to stupid extremes and say that I am suggesting revealing secrets or tell me to get out of my country if I don't like it.

Your wider point is that some national purposes are better advanced under secrecy and discretion. As my suggestion is to provide technical explanations, I do not consider it to be a reduction of secrecy.

David Boey said...

"I am suggesting that in the SAF's public affairs activities, we provide an explanation of how they work and how they can be used. For example, explaining how equipment is used against equipment."

Dear Anon 3:44 PM,
Suggestion has merit. May be able to accommodate. Please email me.

There's a rare opportunity to bring online defence reporting to a new level. How well we - because we're all stakeholders be it content providers or consumers - succeed depends on how willing netizens are willing to step forward.

Watch this space. TY.

Best regards,


blubber said...

"Your wider point is that some national purposes are better advanced under secrecy and discretion. As my suggestion is to provide technical explanations, I do not consider it to be a reduction of secrecy."

thanks for replying.

I do agree with you that Singapore's defence acquisition does give the impetus to evolve it into an arms race. I assess the current state of affairs to be precarious, and prone to swinging to either side of the defence equilibrium, and as such, needs delicate balancing, particularly in what's overtly said and unsaid.

I would say that the government, and military strategists are erring on the side of caution. sometimes, as long as things are unconfirmed, it makes the situation complicated for enemy planners. take for example, our frigates. if you cannot confirm what's under the standard template shell, you'd have to assume the worst-case scenario if you were going to fight it, wouldn't you. even then, you wouldn't know how much of a worst-case scenario to plan for, realistically. the wider point is, the more unconfirmed, the harder it is for the enemy to plan. just my two cents worth.

that said, i do concede that the government has to be mindful of the challenges in not addressing certain issues. because a more educated public and the internet prevail, clarification would be better than allowing speculation.

Anonymous said...

"You are crazy. These are shallow waters. You will easily be detected and bombarded with depth charges."
When did LKY say this?
Depth charges were out of date in 1950's, obsolete by 1960's, their role taken over by torpedos.

blubber said...

not really, the TNI-AL still uses RBU-6000 ASW rockets, which function like depth charges. Parchim-class, for example.

David Boey said...

Dear Anon 10:06 AM,
LKY made the remark about submarines in October 1995.

Best regards,


P.S. Have arrived at capability demo location

UncleMaritimeWarrior said...

You think 4 submarines really make so much difference?

Whilst Indonesia had submarines before Singapore, Singapore escalated the submarine race in SEA with purchase of the 4 Challengers.

Whilst I think it is important to safeguard Singapore,I'm not so sure if there is quite as much justification spending so much money on frigates and submarines.

Nothing securing our SLOC cannot be done with anti Sub aircraft.

6 Frigates may give us some presence at sea against close neighbours with intent to blockade us but the subs will only increase the arms race in the region IMO.

naturally you may say we are acquiring subs to deter an 'aggressive' China but what dispute do we have with the Middle Kingdom, when has she expressed intent to use force of arms against us and what business do we have muddling ourselves into murky issues with regards some of our neighbours and their stake in the Spratleys?

4 or even 8 subs will not be sufficient in any case to stop a resurgent China even if she had a dispute with us.

This is more likely a case of intra-ASEAN one upmanship. Singapore has to be better than its near neighbours and be able to tranquilize any naval access that they may have so we can exploit the coast line in case of arm conflict. Nothing more.

let's not pretend here.

Where this will take the micro arms race is anybody's guess. But it will still cost the average Singapore tax payer a hefty bundle that they will be coward into not complaining in the name of some bogus China threat.

Anonymous said...

I remember the LKY quote.

It is on youtube somewhere.

He has said some crazy things in his life, this not being the first.

But I suppose it is a politicians mistake and we cannot fault him as he is not exactly a military man and can only react to what the experts tell him. (Goh Keng Swee was different as he would make himself the expert)

OTOH, the scary thing is the Americans seem to be listening to him hook line and sinker like he is some sort of sage in China affairs.

He is not.

If he was so astute in reading their minds, he would not have lost so much money with regard Suzhou Industrial Park for starters.

Where he has an advantage to the Americans is he is Chinese (well Peranakan but he won't admit it. American minds are more shallow than our waters sometimes when it comes to their understanding of the world despite the myriad experts they do have in their universities.

LKY well go to them to sell koyok for what is 'best in our interest' which is really making sure our closest neighbours don't do anything stupid and that China is kept in check by suitable weight to keep the balance ala Metternich.

Nothing more.

Hence the subs are both for SEA regional military hegemony of force and a political tool to show our 'commitment' to a coalition of the willing to keep America engaged.

Anonymous said...

With regard 218SG, it is an expedient buy.

Singapore tends to buy trusted products with a proven developmental path ahead and a good track record.

Like F16, Leopard 2 and U212-218 series, these are highly popular for a good reason, they deliver.

The ability to customize these platforms with 'special' equipment is also a massive plus.

The Swedes A26 project is too risky. There are no assurances that cost will not run wild given the current small order and that it will run into difficulties with its development. the same issue was likely the reason why Singapore opted against Rafale in favour of the F15SG. Much of the milestones had not been met and Singapore just isn't a risk taker which is perfectly understandable given it is cautious of tax payer money which could come back to haunt them politically...

Thereby a sensible choice.

Since the submarine genie is out of the bottle (thanks to Singapore), there is no choice but to now have the best that is available out there for price.

U218sg should come close to that. if Soodermanlands come up for sale, then Singapore can absorb them and delay the next 2-4 U218SG or opt for an even more advance sub further down.

This decision is long due as Challengers are rust buckets on account of age.

Anonymous said...

Blubber, you made a good point about ambiguity complicating adversary planning. However, tacticians in potential adversaries are seem to know of equipment which we keep secret and can surely understand how such equipment will be employed. In most cases, what we have is open non-explanation rather than secrecy. If we assume that it will deceive another party, we are deceiving ourselves and we might as well explain it better our citizens.

For example, a neighbouring country was once well armed with short range light anti tank weapons and short ranged anti tank guided missiles. The arrangement would have challenged our SM-1s. After that, well before we ordered our Leopard tanks, the same country worked to introduce standard range anti tank guided missiles. It could only have been that they knew of one or two MBT types that we never announced, or that they knew these MBT were coming home. I personally don't know, but they probably know.

blubber said...

Hi Anon,

you are certainly right, about how even though things may not be explcitily stated, things can be pretty obvious. for eg most of the eqpt on ships or a/c are not officially disclosed, but a trained eye can tell what piece of eqpt it is and its purpose.

I admit i'm no expert, and i don't know entirely what goes on in our strategists' mind, except to take it in faith that our defence planners know what they are doing, when they decide to keep quiet about something, or when they reveal something, both implicitly and explicitly. i know there are those who would disagree, but i for one truly believe MINDEF exercises great prudence when it comes to defence expenditure, and strive to get the best value for money. if we had something like the UK's destroyer progamme turning out, I think riots would probably break out the next day at Gombak.

In response to UncleMaritimeWarrior, submarines are a big game changer in the region, which is precisely why i feel we are on a delicate equilibrium that could set off an arms race, if tensions were not as low as they are now, and diplomatic relations were worse. but that's another topic. on the topic of submarines, any ASW officer worth the sea salt on his epaulettes would tell you that subhunting from surface ships or even planes is extremely challenging. trust me, if they told you it was easy, they were lying. you can buy many planes but, at the end of the day, the best weapon against another submarine, or a surface ship is a submarine, because it has stealth and endurance. an ASW plane might loiter for hours, but it eventually has to go back to refuel.

you could call it one-upmanship, but i guess these things can only be proven in war. when shit hits the fan, you probably want to be able to end it asap with overwhelming power, than to find yourself wanting because you had not invested in the capability earlier. worst-case scenario planning, basically. it's in line with LKY's realist approach, if you think about it.

Anonymous said...

I m puzzled why RSN needs an ocean going sub. Submarines such as the 212s 214s and Vastergotlands are already very capable & extremely deadly for the waters in this region.

Bigger subs may be extremely disadvantaged in the shallower waters in which RSN I assume will operate in. Even in deeper waters the smaller subs are very effective. They probably lose out only on range when compared to the ocean going subs.

Anonymous said...

Good 4 u Singapore. At least ur goverment sees the need 4 a strong armed force...

Anonymous said...

Harpoons are not compatible with Mk41 VLS launchers. Hence, the Formidable with its complement of 24 Harpoons (max load-out) is probably the most potent anti-shipping frigate (of its class) in the world. This is in addition to Aster 15s and 30s on board and we have our little arsenal ships. In the future, we could consider re0equipping the Formidables with A70 or Mk41 launchers. The design of the Formidables epitomizes Singapore - size matters not.

Sss said...

Anonymous @ December 9, 4:08pm

Oh dear! I do believe that you are correct. It was my WAG that Harpoons were compatible with Mk.41. Reckon I got confused as I do know they are compatible with the Mk13 single-arm launcher on the Australian Adelaide Class.

Apologies to all.

Regarding the choice between the HDW Type 218SG and the Kockums A26, it may very well be that the Swedes weren't in the game at all:

Anonymous said...

I am thinking that the mid section of the Formidable can be configured for M41 VLS launchers to take the up coming harpoon replacement - the LRASM. Just not sure how feasible to fit the 3m long M41, even if possible, how receptive it will be having a combo of sylver and M41 on a single platform.

The coming LRASM is the only forseeable replacement for the harpoons. At 350km twice the max range of the latter and flying at near mach1.

This will greatly improved the versatility of the Formidables as a sea combatant.

Anonymous said...

What do you want to to load in the Mk 41? Tomahawk, ESSM, ASROC or SM?

Anonymous said...

Anon December 9, 2013 at 4:08 PM

The Tomahawk has an anti shipping capability. This is why some Burkes (outside our frigate's class) are not fitted with Harpoon.

Perrys also have a 40 missile magazine divided between SM-1 and Harpoon, and the Australian and Turkish Perrys additionally have Mk41 with ESSM. But the Formidable may be more advanced. Then again other ships may accommodate additional Harpoon bolt ons as easily as the Formidable.

AL said...

Why buy from HDW and not Kockums? This article is most informative.

Anonymous said...

Tomahawks do not have anti ship capabilities at the moment. The few which were conceived as anti ship versions were converted to land attack versions.

Anonymous said...

Mk41 launchers confers better use of space as the groups of cells are grouped closer as compared to slyver cells. Hence, you may fit additional vls cells in place of the current 32 slyver cells. However, rsn went for the more expensive aster missiles instead of essms and standards as they wanted active missiles which accords better overall capability. Sm-6 is active and there might be an active version of essm in future.

Anonymous said...

We still have 6 victory corvettes to replace with new frigates come 2020. RSN may be operating 10-12 frigates in total.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:41 AM

Like macham play soccer:

- LMV x08
(Gun and RHIB party)

- >2000T stealth Corvette x04
(Gun, ASuW(SR), ASW, AAW)

- Formidables x06
(Gun, ASuW(SR+LR combo), ASW, AAW)

- Formidables x06 (the same 6 formidables from above)

- >3800T stealth Frigate x04
(w/ Phase Array 4D)
(Gun(LR), ASuW(LR), ASW, AAW, Land attack)

Home Crowd Support
- Endurance LHD1 (20,000T) x02
- Endurance LHD2 (40,000T) x02
- ASW Heli
- ASuW Heli
- RDF (21 Gds Div elements, etc.)

bookie (kelong!) ;-)
- HDW Type 218SG x06

ole... ole ole ole .... ole....ole

Anonymous said...

Siao!! But I like ;)

Anonymous said...

Guys, need confirmation, is the harpoon compatible with M41 VLS launchers? Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Taiwan now has submarine torpedo tubes launch Harpoon block 2 ASuW !

Anonymous said...

Knowing the fact that the contract amount 1,7 BUS for 2 Submarine 218sg. This budget represent the budget for 214 (500MEU each) or Dolphin Class. I'm quite sure that Singapore Navy will totally follow specification of Dolphin Class belong to Israel which is already quite operationally proven with Fuel-Cell AIP also the good relation betwen those countries. To exchange the defence related information concerning the use and submarine operational experiences. Also booth countries having very good relation with USA, for sure this Submarine will be equipped with US made Submarine launch Anti Ship missiles Harpoon and land Attack Submarine launch missiles such as Tomahawk. So it is right that the Class name 218SG following Cantonese "Sure to prosper" instead of 214 "Sure to die". So nothing to do with U 216 which is still underdevelopment by HDW and high risk for Singapore Navy to take this 216 also Not good to operate in Littoral Sea (maximum 100meters), since easy to be detected by MPA with Sonobouy and Infrared Camera also Radar or Helycopter ASW equipped with Dipping Sonar and Torpedo Light Weight and difficult to escape to go maximum Diving manuever (350meters) to hide under sound layer once detected.

Pete said...

I've noticed remarks on this thread about the inefficiency of Singapore using both Stirling and fuel cell AIP technologies in the Archers and future 218s respectively.

My theory is that one reason why the new designation, 218, is being used is that it is possible that TKMS-HDW will integrate Stirling AIP into the 218 design rather than fuel cell. In support of this theory is that in Dec 2013, when the 218s were announced, TKMS owned the rights to Stirling AIP through TKMS-Kockums.

It would still be in Sweden's interests to supply Stirlings to TKMS for the 218s.