Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean officiated at the launch ceremony of the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) first Archer-class submarine, RSS Archer, at the Kockums Shipyard in Karlskrona, Sweden, on 16 Jun 2009. The submarine was launched by Mrs Teo Chee Hean. Sweden’s State Secretary for Defence, Håkan Jevrell, State Secretary for Trade and former Commander of the 1st Submarine Flotilla in the Royal Swedish Navy (RSwN), Gunnar Wieslander, and senior defence officials from both countries attended the launch ceremony.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Teo said the RSN’s mission is to secure the seaward defence of Singapore and to protect Singapore’s Sea Lines of Communication. “The Archer-class submarines, integrated with our six stealth frigates and soon-to-be-delivered naval helicopters, will allow the Navy to undertake more complex and sophisticated operations to help maintain regional peace and stability, and secure the vital sea routes through our region,” said Mr Teo.
RSS Archer is one of two ex-RSwN Vaastergotland-class submarines acquired by Singapore in 2005. The submarines have been comprehensively upgraded, refurbished and tropicalised to ensure their suitability for operations in and around Singapore waters. The RSN crew members have been training in Sweden for the past two years to operate and maintain these submarines. RSS Archer will undergo sea trials after its launch and is expected to return to Singapore in 2010.
The launch of RSS Archer reflects the deep defence cooperation and longstanding friendship between Singapore and Sweden. Both countries share a close defence relationship founded on many shared interests, and which stretches back to the 1970s. Over the years, Singapore’s defence relationship with Sweden has matured to encompass wide-ranging interactions and collaborative projects such as the assistance provided by the RSwN to build up the RSN’s mine-countermeasure force and submarine capability.