Singapore's RSS Steadfast first non-US navy ship to lead RIMPAC multinational group sail

The RSS Steadfast (left) leading the multi-national group sail with two other warships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (right) and US Navy (in far background).
The RSS Steadfast (left) leading the multi-national group sail with two other warships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (right) and US Navy (in far background).PHOTO: MINDEF
Republic of Singapore Navy personnel interacting with their counterparts from Japan and the United States during the exercise planning session.
Republic of Singapore Navy personnel interacting with their counterparts from Japan and the United States during the exercise planning session.PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) frigate RSS Steadfast is leading two other warships in a multi-national group sail from Okinawa, Japan, to Hawaii to participate in the Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.

This is the first time a non-US Navy ship is commanding a group sail to the world's largest international maritime exercise.

The two warships, which the RSN is leading from June 18 to 29, are from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the US Navy, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said in a press release on Tuesday (June 28).

The RSN conducted naval warfare serials with the two naval ships en route, in preparation for the high-intensity sea phase during Exercise RIMPAC.

With an embarked S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter, RSS Steadfast led helicopter operations, surface warfare drills, gunnery firings as well as manoeuvring and communications serials, Mindef said.

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Ooi Tjin Kai, commanding officer of RSS Steadfast, said: "The exercises at sea help to build confidence in operating with one another. As commander of a Multinational Group Sail, the RSN plays an important role in catalysing cooperation between the participating navies and we are glad to be able to value-add to the interactions."

Hosted by the US Navy, Exercise RIMPAC will be held in the waters off Hawaii from Friday to Aug 5. The RSN is participating in the biennial exercise for the fifth time.

Mindef said that the exercise, as well as the multi-national group sail, serve as important avenues for the RSN to sharpen its combat proficiencies as well as to deepen professional ties and inter-operability with other participating navies.