The trend of naval expansion is not limited to global powers like China, Russia and the US:
The Republic of Singapore Navy has moved to beef up its fleet, too.
As maritime trade in Asia-Pacific grows, regional countries have all increased the strength of their navies, Dr Ng noted, with naval budgets in the region expected to increase by 60 per cent through 2020.
It is in this environment that the RSN has to keep pace with the modernisation and growth of navies in Asia, he said.
Singapore’s Ministry of Defense has inked a deal to buy two more German-made Type-218SG submarines.
“In addition to the two previously announced, the RSN will acquire two more Type-218SG submarines to replace its older submarines, with an expected delivery from 2024 onwards,” Dr Ng announced to an audience of leaders from the defence establishment and armed forces chiefs.
“At steady state, the four Type-218SGs in service will complement each other in maintenance, logistics and operations, and have better capabilities to protect our SLOCs (sea lines of communications).”
According to AMI International, there will be approximately 800 more warships and submarines operating within the Asia-Pacific region by 2030, compared with present times.
The acquisition of the first two Type-218SG submarines was announced in 2013, and are expected to be delivered in 2021 and 2022,
Built by German multinational conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG, the Type-218SG submarine contract includes a logistics package and a training arrangement for RSN submarine crew in Germany.
The RSN currently has four Swedish-made vessels from two classes of submarines, the Challenger-class and Archer-class. The two existing Challenger-class submarines are expected to be retired in the next few years, with the four Type-218SG submarines to replace them.
Singapore has one of the largest fleets of submarines in the region. The RSN has been ramping up its underwater capabilities recently, such as via the acquisition of submarine rescue vessel MV Swift Rescue in 2008, and the establishment of a new submarine training centre in 2015.