Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Minister for Defence (a) what is the total cost of acquiring the four Invincible-class submarines; (b) what is the annual cost of their maintenance; (c) how does this compare with the total cost of ownership of the current Archer-class and Challenger-class submarines; and (d) what are the reasons why the Archer-class and Challenger-class submarines have to be replaced.
Dr Ng Eng Hen: As a general rule, MINDEF does not provide the precise amounts for cost of acquisition or maintenance of our military assets as it might indirectly disclose the capabilities of components such as added weapon or protection systems. But taking reference from other militaries of Turkey and Korea that have acquired similar submarines, each submarine costs around $600 million at the time of purchase, or $2.4 billion for a fleet of 4 submarines ordered. This amount is comparable to a fleet of 12 F15s in the RSAF. Maintenance cost per year is usually 2% to 3% of the capital cost of platforms.
These new four Invincible-class submarines will increase considerably the SAF’s ability to maintain maritime security in our region, one of the world’s busiest sea lines of communication. They will replace the Challenger and Archer submarines that are now more than 60 years and 40 years old respectively.
The RSN bought these older submarines to gain experience and expertise. Having operated them for over 20 years, it is timely to now acquire the new Invincible-class submarines that are better suited to our operational environment and security challenges for the next 30 years.
Ministry of Defence
9 January 2023