Two Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) warships began a passage exercise (Passex) with United States Navy vessels in the southern reaches of the South China Sea within international waters yesterday.
Formidable-class frigate RSS Supreme and missile corvette RSS Valiant will join aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, missile-guided destroyer USS Sampson and missile-guided cruiser USS Bunker Hill in the two-day exercise.
It will include gunnery firing against a target, anti-air defence, manoeuvring and helicopter landings, said the RSN in a Facebook post yesterday. It added that the training area is where RSN traditionally conducts exercises, and that the Passex allows the RSN and the US Navy "to enhance interoperability and benchmark standards against each other".
Passex sessions are commonly conducted between navies to strengthen mutual understanding and ties, and enhance interoperability, among other aims. The RSN regularly conducts Passex sessions with visiting navies from countries such as India, China and France. Its most recent Passex session was conducted with the Australian navy in the Malacca Strait last month.
The RSN and US Navy have conducted bilateral exercises, which include Passex sessions, since the 1970s.
In a statement, USS Sampson Commanding Officer Timothy D. LaBenz said the latest Passex session "offered a unique opportunity to further our capabilities to operate with and learn from one another".
"It's an excellent test for our watchstanders to exercise their flexibility as warfighters and to interact with partner navies in a tactical environment," he added, referring to personnel who keep watch on the bridge and over machinery.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, measuring about 330m long and home to a crew of about 5,000 navy personnel, made its first port visit to Singapore on Monday.
"This was a unique opportunity to further our capabilities to operate with and learn from one another," said its commanding officer, Captain Carlos Sardiello.
The carrier was moored at the RSS Singapura-Changi Naval Base, where it held ship tours and key leader engagements with visitors at the invitation of the US Embassy.
It is part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group that will continue maritime security patrols, presence operations, and training with partners and allies throughout the Asia-Pacific region.