Unity is its name and a bottle of champagne was smashed against its hull yesterday, to mark the launch of the Republic of Singapore Navy's latest warship. A Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), it is the navy's third such ship after Independence and Sovereignty, which are undergoing sea trials. Independence is expected to be operationally ready by next year. By 2020, Singapore plans to have a total of eight operational LMVs built and designed locally. The ships will replace 11 Fearless-class patrol vessels which have been in service for about 20 years. Faster and more versatile, the LMVs can be quickly configured with software and equipment to take on a variety of missions.
The 80m-long vessels can be operated and maintained with a crew of 23, seven fewer than the Fearless-class ships. The LMV's unique features include an integrated command centre, which allows greater effectiveness.At the launch at Singapore Technologies Marine's Benoi Yard, Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung noted the significance of the ship's name. Singaporeans have to be united in the face of challenges, including increasing terror threats, he said. "Unity is our strongest defence against any sort of attack," said Mr Ong, also Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills). Yesterday, Mr Ong's wife, Diana, had the honour of launching the vessel in the traditional manner.