Singapore Navy Commissions Final Three Littoral Mission Vessels
(Source: Singapore Government; issued Jan 31, 2020)
The Republic of Singapore Navy’s new fleet of Littoral Mission Vessels tied up at Changi Naval Base to mark the commissioning of the final three ships, which will substantially expand Singapore’s naval power. (RSN photo)
Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo officiated at the commissioning ceremony of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs) RSS Fortitude, RSS Dauntless and RSS Fearless at Tuas Naval Base today.

The commissioning of the final three LMVs marks a significant milestone for the RSN as all eight LMVs are operationalised, strengthening the Navy's capabilities to safeguard Singapore's waters, protect its Sea Lines of Communication and contribute to regional peace and security.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Mrs Teo congratulated the RSN and her partners for the successful completion and operationalisation of all eight LMVs within a short span of just four and a half years since the launch of the first LMV, saying that this was an outstanding feat. She also commended the RSN's ability to turn constraints into opportunity, successfully achieving significant manpower savings.

"The LMVs will play a vital role in strengthening the RSN's ability to defend our everyday… They are quintessentially Singaporean, being designed and built in Singapore by Singaporeans, for Singaporeans. Testament to our people's determination to defend our way of life despite our constraints, the vessels are ingeniously designed to overcome manpower limitations," she said.

Designed and built locally, the Independence-class LMVs are equipped with smarter technology and sharper capabilities to enable the RSN to operate more efficiently and effectively. The ship pushes the boundaries of engineering and design to deliver a more capable, faster and mission-flexible ship. Besides advanced radars and sensors, and improved sense-making systems to enhance situation awareness and accelerate decision-making, the concept of ‘design for support' was incorporated upfront.

For example, the mast of the LMV is designed to house the ship's sensors internally to shield them from the harsh maritime environment and provide easier access for maintenance. The design change has halved the workload for maintenance compared to the Patrol Vessels they replaced, enabling the LMVs to be manned with a leaner crew.

RSS Fortitude, RSS Dauntless and RSS Fearless are the final three LMVs that will replace the ageing Fearless-class Patrol Vessels, which have been in service for more than 20 years. The LMVs have participated in inter-agency operations, such as security operations for the DPRK-US Singapore Summit, and the recent rescue efforts of the merchant vessel Hoyu when it caught fire in November 2019.

In addition, the LMVs were involved in overseas exercises, such as the inaugural ASEAN Multilateral Naval Exercise in Thailand in 2017, as well as local exercises such as Exercise Highcrest.

Also present at the ceremony were Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Lew Chuen Hong as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Singapore Armed Forces.

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Fact Sheet: Operationalisation of the Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) Programme
(Source: Singapore Government; issued Jan 31, 2020)
As a maritime nation, the sea is Singapore's lifeblood and connects us to the world. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s Maritime Security Command/Maritime Security Taskforce is the first line of defence to safeguard Singapore's maritime security 24/7.

The RSN's Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs), in the 182 Squadron, are at the forefront of this effort. Alongside other maritime security agencies, they conduct daily operational patrols and respond to maritime threats to Singapore.

Designed and built locally, the LMVs push the boundaries of engineering and design to deliver a more capable, faster and mission-flexible ship with better seakeeping and endurance. The LMVs are equipped with smarter technology and sharper capabilities to enable the RSN to operate more efficiently and effectively, while being manned by a leaner crew. This is made possible through the harnessing of technology, streamlining of work processes and rethinking operating concepts.

An example is the co-location of the Bridge, Combat Information Centre and Machinery Control Room at the Integrated Command Centre (ICC). The ICC integrates and synergises the management of navigation, engineering and combat functions to achieve greater operational effectiveness for maritime security operations.

Operationalisation of a LMV

-- System Trials:
Each LMV is put through the paces and is taken through a comprehensive operationalisation process. Thorough tests and validations of the following systems are undertaken.

-- Ship Platform Systems:
This includes the testing of all platform systems, from essential systems like the ship's propulsion system and power generation system[1], systems that support navigation like the navigation radar, Global Positioning System and Maritime Mobile Service communication, to systems that facilitate automation on the ship like the Integrated Bridge and Platform Management Systems[2], Launch and Recovery System for the Rigid Hull Boats and Fire-Fighting Systems. The first round of testing is done ashore. Only when the crew is assured that ship systems are able to conduct manoeuvres and navigate safely, and handle emergency situations at sea, is the LMV then put to test at sea.

-- Combat Systems - Sensors and Weapons:
The LMV's combat systems are first individually tested on their functions ashore. The combat systems range from weapons, sensors and communication systems, to the indigenously developed systems for automation and sense-making, such as the Integrated Platform Management Systems and Combat Management System[3]. Thereafter, Installation Checkout Integration Testing is conducted for the various combat systems from different suppliers, where DSTA engineers integrate the systems so that systems can operate together seamlessly. The functionality of the systems, as a whole, are then validated at sea.

-- Crew Training:
The crew undergo training, first as individual operators and later as part of a team. Besides learning about the intricacies of operating the systems, the crew also train together in the conduct of various maritime security operations. Training is conducted via theory lessons, simulation lessons at RSS Daring - the LMV Simulation Centre, and sailing sorties on the LMVs.

Conclusion

The LMV project started nine years ago in 2010, and is jointly developed by the RSN and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA). The Independence-class LMVs are constructed by Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd's subsidiary, ST Marine.

The first-of-class, RSS Independence, was commissioned on 5 May 2017 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as part of the RSN's Golden Jubilee. Since then, RSS Sovereignty, RSS Unity, RSS Justice and RSS Indomitable have also entered operational service. The commissioning of the last three LMVs is a significant milestone as it marks the operationalisation of all eight LMVs to the squadron.

They will further strengthen the seaward defence of Singapore and the RSN's ability to protect our sea lines of communication and way of life

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