iPad the launch pad for design of new Singapore naval vessel

Lt-Col Tay Choong Hern (left), the commanding officer of the LMV Independence, and Lt-Col Chew Chun Chau, head of the LMV project office, with the soon-to-be-commissioned vessel at Changi Naval Base last Friday.
Lt-Col Tay Choong Hern (left), the commanding officer of the LMV Independence, and Lt-Col Chew Chun Chau, head of the LMV project office, with the soon-to-be-commissioned vessel at Changi Naval Base last Friday.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

It was a eureka moment that came from one of the most unlikely places.

During the early design stages of the Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) in September 2010, Lieutenant-Colonel Chew Chun Chau chanced upon a video of the late Steve Jobs introducing the iPad.

If an iPad's functions could be customised with apps, he wondered why a ship could not also be modified according to its mission.

That became the design philosophy for the LMV, the first locally designed and built warship since the launch of the first Endurance-class Landing Ship Tank in 1998.

The LMV can be quickly configured to take on a spectrum of operations. During maritime security operations, for example, it can carry rigid-hull inflatable boats, boarding teams and a helicopter. It can also be adapted with medical-related equipment and specifications for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, as well as search and rescue missions.

  • RSN50 events

  • MAY 5

    On Navy Day, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be commissioning the first-of- class LMV Independence. A commemorative book and doodle wall will be launched.

    MAY 15

    Singapore will host its first International Maritime Review. President Tony Tan Keng Yam will review Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and some 30 foreign vessels in a display of their naval capabilities.

    MAY 16

    The National Parks Board will name an orchid after the RSN's golden jubilee, in recognition of its efforts in building international friendships through naval diplomacy over the last 50 years.

    MAY 16-18

    The International Maritime Defence Exhibition Asia will feature the fifth International Maritime Security Conference, the Maritime Information-Sharing Exercise and the third International Naval Engineering Conference.

    MAY 27-JUNE 3

    Storytelling sessions of the navy's four-book compendium, titled Ahoy, Navy!, will be held at selected libraries. The compendium will be distributed to primary schools and childcare centres at the year end.

    MAY 27-JUNE 26

    The public can colour the RSN50 doodle wall and participate in rope-tying workshops at Safra Punggol and Safra Toa Payoh.

    NOV 9-12

    Get a closer look at the RSN's ships, weapons and equipment, as well as interact with navy personnel at VivoCity shopping mall.

In addition, the LMV is designed to be user-friendly for its 23 crew members.

"When you buy an iPad, you don't have to look at a user manual because it's so intuitive. That was the concept when we designed this ship," said Lt-Col Chew, who headed the LMV project.

On Friday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be commissioning the LMV Independence, which completed its sea trials after being launched in 2015. After the commissioning, Independence will be operationally ready.

It is the first of eight LMVs set to replace the fleet of 11 Fearless-class patrol vessels by 2020. Besides Independence, Sovereignty, Unity and Justice have been launched and are undergoing sea trials.

The 80m-long LMV is more than twice the size of its predecessor, and can travel farther and faster. It can attain speeds in excess of 27 knots and travel 3,500 nautical miles for up to 14 days.

It also has an integrated command centre, which brings together the combat, engineering and navigation teams.

After participating in the RSN50 festivities, Independence will be ready to take on its first mission.

"We have checked out the equipment and are ready to go," said the vessel's commanding officer, Lt-Col Tay Choong Hern.

Charmaine Ng


Correction note: An earlier version of the story reported that the 80m-long LMV is twice as long as its predecessor. This is incorrect.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2017, with the headline 'iPad the launch pad for design of new S'pore naval vessel'. Print Edition | Subscribe