Sunday, May 12, 2013

Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Navy Open House 2013: Armoured landing craft to be unveiled at NOH 2013

Protected by armour and bristling with weapons, the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) special landing craft are better placed to fight and survive firefights on the high seas.

Once secret modifications to RSN Fast Craft Utility (FCU), which are fast landing craft propelled by twin waterjets, go on show next weekend (18-19 May) at the Navy Open House 2013.

The public display of the special FCU comes after the craft was said to have been deployed for operations in the Gulf of Aden for deterring and intercepting sea pirate attacks. Its mothership was the tank landing ship, RSS Endeavour.

Thus modified, the FCU armoured troop carriers elevate the humble 23-metre long landing craft from the role of support craft for ferrying troops, vehicles and cargo to that of a combat vessel.

An armoured troop carrier will be one of the stars of the mock attack sequence during the open house at Changi Naval Base. Its role is to provide covering fire for RHIBs from the navy's crack Naval Diving Unit, which storm into action to wrest control of a merchant ship (played by MV Swift Rescue, the RSN's submarine rescue ship) from gunmen.

The twin 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG) aboard the armoured troop carrier are complemented by classified weapons carried in the FCU's cargo deck.

Equipment for non-compliant boardings of vessels is also carried during operations. Senang Diri understands that the FCU cannot lower its bow ramp for beaching operations due to the presence of classified equipment used to support Vessel Board Search & Seizure (VBSS) missions.

Prominent among the changes are the following mods:
* Sun shelter and armour for the FCU crew position aft
* Armoured glass panels for the crew
* Large box-like shelter on the cargo deck and steel bird cage steel armour that encases all crew positions and vital machinery
* Ladders at the bow which facilitate boardings

These modifications are modular, which means an ordinary FCU can be role changed rapidly.

The bird cage armour on RSN landing craft evokes memories of America's riverine warfare forces - known as the Brown Water Navy - that made their combat debut during the Vietnam War.

Such armour is said to protect the FCU against attacks by rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) while what appears to be bolted composite armour panels inside the bird cage does a similar job protecting Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel and vital machinery against small arms fire and shell splinters.

See this special FCU at the RSN's Navy Open House this coming weekend.

Shuttle buses leave the Singapore Expo between 8am and 4:30pm on Saturday and from 8:30am to 4:30pm on Sunday. Do note the departure timings for the last bus.

This blog will carry one post on the Navy Open House every day this week till Friday.

Among the highlights:
* A look at OOTW FFS
* Sea cruise aboard an upgraded MCV


Anonymous said...

This vessel was actually shown in one of the cyber pioneer video, though it was only a fleeting glimpse lasting a sec or so.

David Boey said...

Thanks for pointing it out.

Seeing the special FCU cruise into view during the preview made my day. It was one of those WTF-is-that situations

Then I saw what they did to RSS Tenacious and that was another "Wow" moment.

Yet another "Wow" moment: Groping the new decoy launcher aboard RSS Vengeance. :)

Will post trip reports throughout the week.

Many thanks to RSN and MINDEF Public Affairs Directorate for hosting the visit.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

If FCU can carry Leopard 2SG MBT, you can add 120mm gun and 50 caliber and/or 7.62mm MG to the armament.

Anonymous said...

FCU cannot carry MBTs

Anonymous said...

Even if possible, firing would not be accurate.

Anonymous said...

The armored landing craft was indeed operated in Gulf.

Ep 1: Transit (Securing Safe Passage - SAF In The Gulf Of Aden)

at 1.49 min, u can see one.