The Invincible is also the first vessel of her class. Photo: Handout

The Singapore Navy launched its first customized submarine, known as Invincible, in Germany this week in a ceremony attended by naval officials from both sides.

Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said the acquisition of new submarines was timely given various security challenges in the city-state’s maritime environment. The Singapore Navy played a key role in keeping the city-state’s sea lanes open, the minister said.

The Invincible is the first of four customized submarines designed for operations in Singapore’s shallow and busy tropical waters. The design of the vessels was influenced by the navy’s experience and expertise gained through more than two decades of operating submarines.

Custom-built to Singapore’s needs, the new submarines will have longer endurance and higher payloads, according to the ministry.

After the launch, the Invincible will undergo a series of sea trials before actual delivery to Singapore in 2021. The remaining three submarines of the same class are also being built by ThyssenKrupp in Germany.

The new fleet will replace Singapore’s aging Archer-class and 1960s-vintage Challenger-class submarines, both of which were built in Sweden.

The submarine’s launch ceremony was held in Germany, where it was made. Photo: Handout

Features of the new class include air-independent propulsion, as well as an “X” rudder to offer enhanced maneuverability in the congested and in places shallow waters around the city-state.

The initial deal for two of the submarines was valued at €1.6 billion (US$1.8 billion), including expenses for logistics and crew training. Now, it is estimated that Singapore will pay no less than €3 billion for all four of the subs.

Singapore and Germany signed an enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement last year, with submarine technologies and crew training highlighted as key areas of future cooperation.

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