Business owner looks forward every year to teaming up with his crew on the all-NSmen operated RSS Vigilance

ME1(NS) Anbalagan and the rest of the 46-man crew on the Victory-class missile corvette vessel (MCV) RSS Vigilance attained their full operational readiness status on July 17, 2018.
ME1(NS) Anbalagan and the rest of the 46-man crew on the Victory-class missile corvette vessel (MCV) RSS Vigilance attained their full operational readiness status on July 17, 2018.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/HENG CHEE HOW

SINGAPORE - For most of the year, operationally-ready national serviceman (NSman) Anbalagan Sunderason is busy organising his staff and managing operations for his landscaping and cleaning business.

But it all comes to a halt when the 29-year-old receives a text message informing him of his in-camp training with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

Mr Anbalagan, who holds the rank of Military Expert 1 (NS), does not dread the alert. In fact, he yearns for it.

ME1 (NS) Anbalagan and the rest of the 46-man crew on the Victory-class missile corvette vessel (MCV) RSS Vigilance, which is fully manned by NSmen, attained their full operational readiness status on Tuesday (July 17).

It is the second crew to achieve this status after the team from RSS Vengeance secured it earlier this year.

A communication systems operator on the RSS Vigilance, ME1 (NS) Anbalagan likened his excitement to be back each year for 11 to 14 days to "playing football after being out six months with an injury".

ME1 (NS) Anbalagan, a regular in the RSN from 2010 to 2015, said: "You already know what you have to do and the standards you have to meet, so over the years, it has become so natural that I don't even see it as a difficult thing to do.

"Being given this opportunity to return and serve on board the vessel is something to be very proud of.

"It's something I look forward to every year when I get the call-up."

Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How visited the RSN's 188 Squadron at Tuas Naval Base on Tuesday afternoon and witnessed the attainment of full operational status by the RSS Vigilance crew.

Watched by Mr Heng, the crew executed a series of operations which included navigating the ship in congested waters, fire-fighting and damage control, conducting surveillance operations as well as identifying and neutralising simulated threats from the surface and air.

Speaking to the media after the visit, Mr Heng said: "Having sailed on an MCV fully crewed by NSmen and witnessing their abilities at sea, I am confident that should they be activated for operations, they are fully prepared and capable of fulfilling their mission."

He also highlighted the important role the MCVs have played in safeguarding Singapore's sovereignty and sea lines of communication over the past 30 years.

"The MCVs continue to be a formidable strike capability at sea and are the longest-serving class of warships currently in service," he said.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen had said earlier this month that the six Victory-class corvettes, first commissioned from 1990, will be replaced with new multi-role combat vessels (MRCV).

The MCVs will reach the end of their operational lifespans by 2025, said Mr Heng, adding: "I look forward to the new MRCVs, which will replace the ageing MCVs."

"Leveraging the latest technology, they will be designed with modularity, unmanned systems and NS integration in mind."