RSS Swordsman, Singapore’s second Archer-class submarine, was commissioned in April 2013. The first submarine, RSS Archer, was commissioned for active service in December 2011.

The Archer-class submarines project was a large-scale complex naval project that involved the integration of new and old systems. To deliver the Archer-class submarines, the DSTA team played a leading role in upgrading two Västergötland-class submarines to a modern and capable naval platform for the RSN. 

The critical upgrade was to modify and adapt the platform systems to host the modern combat systems. Their arrangement, network connectivity, as well as electrical and cooling systems were improved. The submarines were also equipped with an Air-Independent Propulsion system for an extended submerged endurance.

To meet the RSN’s unique requirements, the team oversaw the acquisition and integration of various combat systems with the existing platform systems on board the submarines. One of the major engineering challenges was to pack all the required mission systems into the tight confines of a submarine while retaining its ability to operate safely. A diverse suite of combat and sensor systems was integrated into the submarines, including an advanced sonar system which allows them to detect targets at a further distance, and the torpedo system which has a better target acquisition capability for the submarines to engage targets at a longer range. 

With an extended submerged endurance, improved combat capabilities and surveillance, the Archer-class submarines represent a leap in capability for the RSN. The team was conferred the prestigious Defence Technology Prize 2013 Team (Engineering) Award for its outstanding contributions.