MHalblaub correctly pointed out several times a year ago that the combined purchase price of the 2 x 218s was less than US$ 2 Billion - a sum only enough for a slightly evolved design. My original prediction of a much larger 3,000 ton (surfaced) design was incorrect - as a radically new 218 design would have cost considerably more.
Singapore ordered the 218s in November 2013. The Type 218SGs are being built at TKMS-HDW shipyard at Kiel in northern Germany
The 70 meter long 218 is approximately 2,000 tons (surfaced). For comparison the 69 meter long Dolphin 2 is 2,050 tons surfaced.
The 218's beam (width) is 6.3 meters and the 214's beam is also 6.3 meters. The 214's draught is 6.0 meters and the Dolphin 2's draught is 6.2 meters making it likely that the 218's draught is in that narrow range - perhaps 6.1 meters.
One might plausibly describe the 218 as a:
- 214 with a long, 5 meter, plug and a 212A X-plane tail OR
- a slight derivative of the Dolphin 2 (without the Dolphin 2's cruciform tail but retaining the Dolphin 2's X-plane rudder tail portion.
From Defense Studies the figures TKMS indicated have been bolded here:
The mention of "8 x 533mm torpedo tubes" with part job "used for landing troops and deep sea submersible vehicles for special forces." is contradictory given 533mm's narrowness for troops and vehicles. While 6 tubes may be 533mm one the two remaining tubes might need to be of greater diameter (650mm (as in the Dolphin 2). Or perhaps the 7th and 8th tube places could accommodate what I call a 1.5(?) meter horizontal multi-purpose lock (HMPL) a large diameter tube. A HMPL is seen on the 1,000 ton Type 210mod design (below) which - in design - sacrificed 4 or its previous 8 torpedo tubes.
So the 218s 5 meter plug may enable or be ready for many things including a much larger torpedo room for fitting the HMPL. This enables easier, more rapid operations for swim out divers/special forces, diver delivery vehicle(s), large diameter LDUUV(s), or rapid fire of 6 cruise missiles (+ 6 more in the 6 torpedo tubes).
The 5 meter plug may also or alternatively:
- provide room in the 218's mid-section behind the sail for diver/special forces accommodation and diver wet-dry chamber
- and/or vertical multi-purpose lock or provision for a future one OR
- extra room for a variety of purposes (eg. extra diesel fuel, extra batteries, extra AIP capacity, extra crew accommodation for longer missions).
The first Type 218SG submarine will be completed in 2020. To enter service two years later, after passing through the sea acceptance tests and final test, as well as the completion of the training program for the crew. Both units should be in line [commissioned by?] 2025.
A half century of close Israel-Singapore military relations remains obscure. Both Israel and Singapore are surrounded by much larger, majority Muslim countries. Both Israel and Singapore have higher GDPs per capita than almost all of their neighbours. This has encouraged both countries to buy or build higher quality weapons than their neighbours including buying the most advanced conventional submarines available.
The 218 may have a reinforced bottom like the Dolphin 2's.This would allow the 218 to sit on the seafloor (important for the 218 in/around Malacca and Singapore Straits).
BACKGOUND - Singapore Strait and Malacca Strait
The Singapore Strait is the most immediately important body of water for Singapore in military and economic terms. This Strait is the deepwater approach for warships, cargo ships and tankers to the port of Singapore. The Singapore Strait is 16 km wide and lies between Singapore Island (north) and the Riau Islands (south) which are part of Indonesia.
It includes Johore Strait (around 12 meters deep max - unnavigable by submarine), Keppel Harbour, and many small islands. The Singapore Strait is a channel extending for 105 km between the Strait of Malacca (west) and the South China Sea (east).
The southern part of the Malacca Strait closest to Singapore rarely exceeds 37 meters deep. The Malacca Strait is up there with the Strait of Hormuz, Suez and Panama canals as being the world's most impotant narrow waterway.