The Singapore Strait is one of the busiest stretches of water in the world. Source: Wikimedia
Singapore’s navy has launched another littoral mission vessel (LMV), Sovereignty, the second of eight boats being designed and built in the city-state to replace the Fearless-class patrol vessels.
Sovereignty is due to be operational by 2017, after its combat systems are fitted and it undergoes sea trials. The other warships are scheduled to be ready by 2020.
Deputy Prime Minister and national security minister Teo Chee Hean said that Singapore’s ports sat along one the world’s busiest sea routes, with more than 1,000 ships sailing through the Singapore Strait every day. He said Singapore’s strategic location and maritime traffic made it vulnerable.
“The interruption of sea traffic or a threat coming from the many vessels sailing through these waters will have a serious impact on us,” he explained.
The eight LMVs will replace 11 patrol vessels, which have been in service for about 20 years. The crews will be at least 10 per cent smaller.
“The security of our sea lanes and our port are affected by piracy, sea robberies and the emergent threat of transnational maritime terrorism,” Teo said.
“With its integrated sensors and weapons, as well as advanced C4 systems, the LMV will… enhance our ability to detect and respond to current and future maritime threats,” he announced.
Teo was speaking at the launch of the warship at Singapore Technologies Marine’s dock.
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Maliki Osman attended the event.
Sovereignty, like the other vessels, is designed and built in the city-state, the first in nearly 20 years.
The LMV Independence was launched last July and is going through sea trials now and is expected to be operational next year.
“The LMV will be an integral part of RSN [Republic of Singapore Navy] Task Groups and be able to support the full range of SAF [Singapore Armed Forces] missions well,” said Teo. “The longer endurance of the LMV, and its systems which are designed for reliability and maintainability, will allow it to conduct operations that are more persistent, and at longer ranges and further distances.”
The 80-metre-long vessel is more than double the size of its predecessor and can sail further and faster. It can reach 27 knots and sail up to 3,500 nautical miles. Powered by four engines, it can stay at sea for 14 days.
“The ability to build and design our own ships with a lot of indigenous technology indicates the importance of engineering for Singapore,” Teo added. “The ability to do that means we have optimised the platforms that we have: ships, aircraft and land capabilities.”