Navy marks 50th year with time capsule

Items that will be in the time capsule include (from far left) a poster marking the ports of call during the Republic of Singapore Navy's first voyage around the world, the RSN's skill and vocation specialisation badges, a compilation of hopes and wi
Items that will be in the time capsule include (from far left) a poster marking the ports of call during the Republic of Singapore Navy's first voyage around the world, the RSN's skill and vocation specialisation badges, a compilation of hopes and wishes for the navy's next 25 years by the men and women of the RSN, and the RSN50 commemorative book. The time capsule will be sealed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today, as part of celebrations marking the navy's 50th anniversary today, also known as Navy Day.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

It contains wishes and hopes for the RSN in the next 25 years, along with artefacts, and will be opened in 2042

Having a first female chief of navy and training systems using virtual reality - these hopes and aspirations of the men and women of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) will be sealed in a time capsule by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today.

It is part of celebrations marking the navy's 50th anniversary today, which is also known as Navy Day.

These 800 wishes submitted by navy personnel for the RSN in the next 25 years have been compiled into a book, which will be put into the time capsule, along with artefacts that highlight the RSN's key achievements since its silver jubilee in 1992.

The time capsule, shaped like a typical compartment on board a naval ship, will be placed in the Navy Museum in Tanah Merah Coast Road.

Other items include a framed poster of the ports of call during the navy's first round-the-world voyage, called Sail Navy 2000, on the RSS Endurance.

Following the RSS Endurance's maiden deployment on Navy Day in 2000, led by then commanding officer, Colonel (Ret) Siow Chee Khiang, it visited nine ports and sailed through the Panama and Suez canals.

The voyage lasted four months and covered 25,000 nautical miles.

Another artefact is a replica of the Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel - locally designed and built warships which are expected to fully replace the Fearless-class patrol vessels by 2020.

The capsule will be opened when the navy turns 75 in 2042.

In January, the RSN opened a time capsule that was sealed 25 years ago in 1992, with about 200 aspirations for the navy to achieve by this year.

To date, the navy has surpassed these aspirations, said Rear-Admiral Timothy Lo, chairman of RSN50, "because of the great work of the men and women of the RSN who have served our nation with dedication and distinction".

For example, one wish made by then Staff Sergeant Loy Joon How was for the navy to have "formidable coastal and strike capabilities against three-dimensional threats".

This was achieved in 2007, when the navy acquired the Formidable- class frigates.

The navy also fulfilled another aspiration from its 25th anniversary - for ships to carry rotary-wing aircraft - when RSS Endurance, the first Endurance-class Landing Ship Tank, was commissioned in 2000.

The new wishes include one from a Ms Jessline Lim, hoping for a female chief of navy.

Another submission by Military Expert 4A Lim Jin Hua reads: "I hope to see that we have advanced in tandem with technology. We will be using VR as part of our training... where we can use VR to simulate a virtual battlefield."

Col (Ret) Siow, 55, hopes the navy will continue to have the ability to accomplish what it sets out to do in the next 25 years.

"It will be a constant challenge, as the world becomes more complex," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2017, with the headline 'Navy marks 50th year with time capsule'. Print Edition | Subscribe