SINGAPORE - A new facility at Tuas Naval Base will cut training time by 60 per cent for sailors to operate Singapore’s latest home-built high-tech warships, with two more now ready for action.
The RSS Daring-Littoral Mission Vessel Simulation Centre uses technology, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, to make training more effective and efficient.
On Wednesday (Sept 26), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah opened the centre and officiated the commissioning of RSS Justice and RSS Indomitable – the navy’s fourth and fifth littoral mission vessels (LMV) to turn operational.
Ms Indranee said in addition to its traditional role in coastal security, maritime patrol and surveillance missions, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) plays an important role in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as search-and-rescue missions.
“To accommodate this wider range of maritime missions, LMVs adopt a concept of ‘modularity’, which allows them to be easily configured to suit a variety of mission demands,” said Ms Indranee.
She added that Singapore’s LMVs have performed commendably since being commissioned last year.
Besides their deployment during the summit in June between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the LMVs also participated in various exercises with foreign counterparts in the region.
All eight LMVs are scheduled to be operational by 2020.
The new simulation centre was jointly developed by the RSN and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA).
It houses two simulation halls which replicate the LMV Integrated Command Centre’s 360-degree view around the ship, for more realistic training.
This view is generated by 15 high-definition projectors placed in each of the 30m by 30m halls. The 4.1m tall wraparound screen encircles the mock-up of the LMV’s Integrated Command Centre, providing the 360-degree view.
A variety of simulations can be generated – including harsh weather conditions, system malfunction, high traffic density in congested waters, and the presence of enemy ships – to support training in areas such as berthing, navigation and watch-keeping, and weapon-firing.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ang Goon Hwee, commanding officer of the simulation centre, said: “With the high-fidelity projection, training can be conducted in harsh and demanding conditions in a risk-free and controlled setting, so that the trainees can focus on honing their skills to achieve higher competency, resulting in more effective training.”
In the past, trainees needed to use different simulators. For berthing training, for instance, the exercise had to be conducted out at sea for four hours and needed a crew of 23. At the new centre, berthing training can be done by four people in one hour.
The centre also allows for combined training between different teams on the LMV. This could involve teams responsible for the navigation, combat and engineering functions of the ship.
Mr Jason Khong, 36, who is from the DSTA, said: “Any scenarios you can experience out at sea, it can be simulated at the centre. With artificial intelligence, the simulated enemy forces can also be configured to react differently.”
Mr Khong is senior programme manager for the simulation centre.
Military Expert 1 Sachael Teo, 24, a marine systems operator on RSS Justice, said that as a junior operator, training at the centre allowed her to gain confidence in overcoming various malfunctions on the LMVs which may occur while out at sea, such as power and propulsion failure.
“The training at the centre has also allowed me and my shipmates to build our team synergy while responding to different kinds of scenarios,” she added.