ST Engineering has launched the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s eighth and final Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), future RSS Fearless, at its Benoi Shipyard on Jan. 26.
The launching ceremony was officiated by Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How and the LMV was launched by Mrs Heng Soon Poh, wife of Mr Heng.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Heng highlighted the importance of a strong and capable RSN to safeguard Singapore’s sovereignty. He said, “The navy is every maritime nation’s first line of defence. A strong RSN is key to protecting our maritime sovereignty, and keeping our Sea Lines of Communication open. Singapore’s maritime agencies work together 24/7 to monitor threats. The RSN augments this by conducting patrols around the clock – tirelessly – to keep our waters safe and secure. We do this to protect Singapore, Singaporeans, and our Singaporean way of life.”
On the launch of Fearless, Mr Heng encouraged the crew to “live up to the fearless spirit of our founding fathers and continue to live out its legacy. As you embark on your next journey to defend our sovereignty, our security, and our economic prosperity, I am confident that you will overcome all challenges fearlessly, never flagging in adversity.”
The launch of Fearless is a significant milestone in the RSN’s continued transformation to enable it to continue safeguarding the sovereignty and security of Singapore’s waters. The LMV programme is progressing well. Since 2017, five LMVs – RSS Independence, RSS Sovereignty, RSS Unity, RSS Justice and RSS Indomitable – have been commissioned. They have rapidly assumed and effectively executed operational duties, including the DPRK-US Singapore Summit and daily maritime security patrols, and have participated in exercises such as the ASEAN Multilateral Naval Exercise and Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise. LMVs Fortitude and Dauntless, launched in 2018, are undergoing sea trials and will be commissioned later this year. All eight LMVs will be fully operational by 2020.
Also present at the ceremony was Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Lew Chuen Hong, as well as senior officers from the RSN and the Defence Science and Technology Agency.
Independence-class littoral mission vessels (LMV)
Independence-class littoral mission vessels are a class of eight surface platforms that are replacing the Fearless-class patrol vessels of the Republic of Singapore Navy.
The LMV was jointly designed by Saab Kockums AB and ST Marine with Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) as the overall manager and systems integrator and was derived from Saab Kockum’s FLEXpatrol multi-mission patrol vessel. The vessels have a length of 80 m and a displacement of 1200 tonnes.
Powered by two MTU 20V 4000 M93 engines each rated at 4,300 kW (5,770 shp), they have a maximum speed of 27 knots and a range of 3000 nautical miles at 18 knots speed.
The vessels are armed with an Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun (mounted in stealth cupola), two Hitrole 12.7 mm (0.50 in) Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS), an 25mm Mk38 Mod2 Typhoon Weapon Station Stabilised Gun ans twelve MICA VL missiles. The non-lethal armament includes two Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) 500 Xtreme (LRAD500X).
LMVs are equipped with Thales NS 100 S-band multi-function active electronically scanned array (AESA) search radar, Kelvin Hughes SharpEye navigation radar and Sagem Gun Fire-control System (GFS). They have a flight deck for one medium-lift helicopters and have a crew complement of 23.