Singapore navy takes leadership roles in largest global maritime exercise

The Republic of Singapore’s Formidable-class frigate RSS Tenacious is part of this year's edition, which involves 45 ships, five submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel, from 25 countries.
The Republic of Singapore’s Formidable-class frigate RSS Tenacious is part of this year's edition, which involves 45 ships, five submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel, from 25 countries.PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has again taken up leadership roles in the Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac) Exercise, the world's largest international maritime exercise hosted by the United States Navy.

"This is the sixth Exercise Rimpac that the RSN has participated in over the last 10 years," a statement from the Singapore defence ministry said on Saturday (July 21).

The biennial exercise is taking place in the waters off Hawaii. Running from June 28 to Aug 3, this year's edition involves 45 ships, five submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel, from 25 countries.

Among them is the Republic of Singapore Navy's Formidable-class frigate, RSS Tenacious, with an embarked Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter.

The Singapore navy has taken on the role of commander of a task unit in the Expeditionary Strike Group, which will conduct training and scenario-based missions across the surface, air and sub-surface dimensions of naval warfare.

The task unit comprises RSS Tenacious, Australia's HMAS Toowoomba, Malaysia's KD Lekiu, Peru's BAP Ferre, South Korea's ROKS Dae Jo Young and USS Sterett from the United States.

The RSN is also commander of the task group for training in anti-submarine warfare, leading Peru's BAP Ferre, Chile's CNS Lynch, the USS Lake Erie and USS William P Lawrence from the United States, and multinational helicopters and aircraft.

On Thursday, the RSS Tenacious also conducted a successful Simultaneous Time-on-Target Harpoon surface-to-surface live missile firing. It involved the firing of two missiles to hit a target at the same time.

ME3 Louies Tan, 36, who is in charge of the weapons on board the ship, said that the other navies were surprised by the lean or 72-crew aboard the RSN frigate.

"A typical frigate of this size typically has a crew complement of 200 to 250 personnel," he said. "The key reason how we can attain the lean manning of the frigate is the way we capitalise on technology and automation."

Commanding Officer of RSS Tenacious, Lieutenant Colonel Lee Jan, said Exercise Rimpac is useful for the Singapore navy to train with established navies from around the world and hone its warfare capabilities.

"Most importantly, the exercise gives us the opportunity to forge friendships and build closer cooperation with the multinational navies involved," he said.

Commander of the US Third Fleet Vice Admiral John D. Alexander said the relationships formed at the exercise would enable them to work together and provide disaster relief, combat piracy or conduct a wide range of maritime contingency operations.

"We are all maritime nations, we all prosper through trade, and the majority of the trade goes through the Indo-Pacific region."