Originally TKMS broke a complacent Kockums' monopoly when Singapore ordered TKMS subs in November 2013. This was the first batch of 2 x TKMS Type 218SGs (covered by Submarine Matters at the time).
By September 3, 2015 enough details emerged on the 218s to write quite a long Submarine Matters’ description.
On May 15-16, 2017 Singapore announced the order of 2 more 218s.
The first two 218SGs (in 2021-2022) will replace the two ex-Swedish subs, renamed RSS Chieftain and RSS Conqueror of the Singaporean Challenger class
The second batch of the 218s (in the mid 2020s) will replace two more modern ex-Swedish subs, renamed RSS Archer and RSS Swordsman, of the Archer class.
Singapore has long maintained several advanced submarines to:
- work with nearby sensor arrays, surface and aircraft and allies to monitor activities of non-state
actors (Islamic terrorists, drug and arms smugglers, pirates etc)
- monitor Chinese SSNs and SSKs transiting the Malacca Strait
- protect the small city-state of Singapore against much larger neighbours (Malaysia, Indonesia and
Vietnam) that also own submarines, and
- for intelligence gathering (electronic and special forces, etc)
Its interesting to guess what propulsion types the first and second batches of 218s will have.
All four 218s may feature more efficient, more available, Reformer fuel cell (FC)/Air Independent Propulsion (AIP). On this type of AIP see page 42. Spain’s Sener company may be still helping TKMS develop this AIP. Sener indicates http://www.revistanoticias.sener/en/news/aip-system-for-submarines/50/:
“To solve this problem, and given that the general market trend is to build ever larger submarines, SENER has partnered with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), the European leader in submarine construction, to develop an AIP based on the methanol reforming process, which allows the hydrogen needed to feed the fuel cell to be produced on board.”
Or the first two 218s may begin with existing HDW PEM fuel cell AIP and be later retrofitted with Reformer FC/AIP.
German battery companies may be working with US EnerSys and/or General Atomics to develop more efficient and advanced Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) for the 218s. EnerSys supplies batteries for diesel-electric (batteries are essentiall day-to-day) and nuclear subs (for backup). General Atomics may be supplying the LIBs used by US Special Forces mini-subs.
The first two 218s may be fitted with MTU 16V396 SE (3.96 MW) diesels . This would make it easier to retrofit more modern MTU 12V4000s. MTU 12V4000s may be fitted to the the second two 218s.
A Type 218SG model first displayed at IMDEX ASIA in Singapore, May 19-21 2015.
The 218's X-plane tale (Courtesy Coffee and Bullets)