The Challenger Class Submarine
The emergence of a new Submariner Nation
Singapore Navy turns to Sweden for Subs
Singapore's first submarine, the RSS Challenger, was origi-nally launched in 1968 as HMS Sjöbjörnen (the Sea Bear) with-in the Sjöormen (Sea Serpent) class of the Royal Swedish Navy.
All Swedish Sjöormen subs were purchased by Singapore in the 1990s. At that time, the deal represented the birth of a new nation of submariners, in the shape of the 171 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Navy.
A deep relationship
Whereas submarines operate deep under the surface, the Sjöormen/ Challenger deal also led to a deeper relationsship between the two Nations, their Navies and respective shipbuilding industry. In 2005 this fruitful cooperation resulted in Singapore acquiring two additional sub-marines from Sweden - the Archer class.
The adaptation of a revolutionary submarine
The revolutionary Sjöormen class submarine was at the time the first "real" submarine that succeeded and outdated the existing World War II designs. With the Sjöormen class Kockums introduced a number of new technologies, including the modern hydrodynamic hull shape, one-man manoeuvring system and the X-rudder configuration. X-rudders give the submarine outstanding manoeuvring characteristics and enables the submainre to hide lay hidden on the sea bed.
The Riken modernisation programme
Modernization of submarines and other naval vessels is a special and highly developed competence area within Kockums. Among other things, our unique knowledge in modular construction gives us a strong advantage in this field.
Sometimes the task comprises more than just upgrading to today's standard. In the case of the RSS Challenger class the assignment also included tailoring of the vessels to tropical climate and the specific operational conditions of the Republic of Singapore Navy.
The Sjöbjörnen submarine was modified and upgraded for tropical conditions 1996-1997 under a programme known as "Riken" and re-launched as RSS Challenger in 1997. After more than 30 years in service, this submarine is in many respects still at the forefront of submarine technology.
Four modernised submarines of the Challenger Class have been delivered to the Republic of Singapore Navy; RSS Challenger, RSS Conqueror, RSS Centurion and RSS Chieftain.
The RSS Challenger will proudly serve the Republic of Singapore for many years to come and represents a real evidence of the very high quality level of submarines delivered by Kockums.
Page updated Tuesday, October 26, 2010.
Launching of RSS Swordsman
The RSS Swordsman was laun-ched at Kockums in Karlskrona on October 20, 2010, with pomp and circumstance.
Related submarine types
Read more about related subs on Kockums product pages.
Kockums submarine brochure
Download Kockums submarine brochure in pdf format here.