Bigger show at Navy Open House

CRAMPED, narrow and dark - these are the conditions in which Navy submariners live every day.

At the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Open House this weekend, the public will be able to get a feel of life on a generic submarine. For the first time, a replica of the interior of a submarine - complete with periscope and sleeping quarters - will be on display.

It will be housed within the Experience Zone, which also serves as a hub for a whole range of naval activities that will allow the public to put themselves in the shoes of sailors.

Visitors can experience the life of navy medical personnel at a mock ship operating theatre - stitching wounds and performing emergency rescue procedures.

They can also simulate patching holes in a ship hull and putting out on-board fires, and shoot paintball bullets at targets using real weapons.

In another first, members of the public at this year's Navy Open House will get a chance to board foreign warships as well as the RSN's own vessels.

One of the highlights is the littoral combat ship USS Freedom, a small and agile United States Navy vessel and the first of up to four that Singapore will allow to be deployed in its waters.

Other foreign warships available for visiting during the Open House include the Australian patrol boat HMAS Bathurst as well as Indian frigate INS Satpura and corvette INS Kirch.

In the Mission Zone, members of the public can also get a sneak peek at the Navy's newest assets such as the K-STER Remotely Operated Vehicle, which allows personnel to detect and detonate sea mines.

Another noteworthy piece of equipment is the ScanEagle, an unmanned aerial vehicle used to perform maritime surveillance.

In the Family and Fun Zone, visitors can play naval-themed games, and video simulations developed by Nanyang Polytechnic students in collaboration with the RSN. They can also cast their ballots for a sea cruise on a choice of naval vessels, such as a mine countermeasure vessel or patrol vessel. Sea rides on small craft and RSN "Duck Tours" are also available without balloting.

The organising committee hopes to attract around 120,000 people to the Navy Open House, which is held once every three years.

"The key objective... is to allow the public to feel and live the action as a naval sailor for a day," said Military Expert 7 Low Yong Joo, chairman of the executive committee for the Open House.