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Final S’pore Navy custom-built submarine to be launched in Germany by Teo Chee Hean

Navy submarine Inimitable, to be launched soon, is one of four designed for Singapore’s shallow waters

Since 2019, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has been launching submarines custom-built for Singapore by a German manufacturer.

The fourth and final one of the set, known as the Invincible-class submarines, will soon be launched in Germany.

Impeccable at Changi Naval Base. Source: Ministry of Defence

The launch will be officiated by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Teo Chee Hean to launch Navy submarine

Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, is currently visiting Germany, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) quoted the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as saying.

Source: Teo Chee Hean on Facebook

During his trip from 21 to 24 April, he will be in the northern city of Kiel to officiate the launch of the RSN’s new submarine, named Inimitable.

“Inimitable” is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “not capable of being imitated” or “matchless”.

Mr Teo will also meet German Federal Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius.

Invincible-class submarines designed for Singapore’s needs

Inimitable is one of four Invincible-class, or Type 218SG, submarines ordered by Singapore from German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).

The submarines were specially designed to operate in Singapore’s shallow and busy tropical waters, according to the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).

Source: Ng Eng Hen on Facebook

They’re also made for our specific needs, including ergonomics optimised for the Asian physique, among other state-of-the-art capabilities.


The other three are named Invincible, Impeccable and Illustrious.

Navy submarine spotted in Germany before being launched

The launch of Inimitable was teased by the RSN in a Facebook reel on Saturday (20 April), which stopped short of announcing the date, only saying the vessel was “launching soon”.

Source: Republic of Singapore Navy on Facebook

But before its official launch, it was already spotted nearing completion in Germany.

A photographer named Eckhard Uhrbrock snapped a photo of it at the TKMS facility in Kiel.

Source: Eckhard Uhrbrock via Naval Analyses on X

The image showed that the vessel was undergoing the final stages of physical construction before entering trials to validate its performance out at sea, according to Defence Security Asia.

After the launch, Inimitable will remain in Germany for the sea trials before being handed over to the RSN.

Upon reaching Singapore, it should undergo further sea trials before being officially commissioned.

Three other submarines launched in 2019 & 2022

The first submarine, Invincible, was launched in 2019 by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

Source: Ng Eng Hen on Facebook

Invincible sailed out to sea in waters off Kiel for its first sea trial in 2021, RSN said.

Source: Republic of Singapore Navy on Facebook

In 2022, Impeccable and Illustrious were launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching.

Source: Republic of Singapore Navy on Facebook

Last year, Impeccable arrived in Singapore’s Changi Naval Base for the first time, while Invincible remained in Germany to support the training of RSN submariners, MINDEF said.

RSN said all four submarines are expected to arrive in Singapore by 2028.

In a Facebook post, Dr Ng said the four will be operational by the end of this decade.

Also read: S’pore Navy Sailors Sing ‘Home’ From Ship They’ll Be Staying On For Coming Weeks

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Featured image adapted from Eckhard Uhrbrock via Naval Analyses on X.

Jeremy Lee

Analog person making do with a digital world.

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