The German defense industry is increasingly looking to Asia as a growing market for its products. Conflicts in the Far East have led to a demand for the kind of giant — and expensive — submarines that come from shipyards in northern Germany.
The special fascination of ThyssenKrupp’s new Type 218SG submarine is not immidiately apparent. It only becomes clear at the sight of the delicate, detailed engineering at its stern. That’s where the “air independent propulsion system” is installed, connected directly with a gearless Permasyn motor. Built to glide through the sea almost noiselessly, the submarine is quieter and more durable than any other conventional model.
With fuel-cell drive and lithium-ion batteries, such a submarine can stay deployed at sea for more than 80 days and spend four weeks at a time under the surface.These are ideal capabilities for a war machine built to function in the depths of seemingly endless waters, over routes that can be navigated without interruption for longer than ever before. It is a design suitable for the largest of all oceans: the Pacific.
At the end of November, Singapore, an authoritarian city-state on the edge of the crisis regions of the West Pacific, ordered the first two Type 218SG submarines to be released by German firm ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). The custom-designed machines are to be delivered to the Singapore Navy by 2020. The deal cost the country €1.6 billion ($2.18 billion), which will go directly into the German economy.
What’s most interesting is what is left out of the article in Spiegel, the if or how these subs are armed. Torpedoes? Missile tubes? German Death Rays?