Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Circuit breaker Day 16 pix: Republic of Singapore Navy display at the National Day Carnival 21

Vital Force: This single picture shows you how small the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) was in August 1986. The 11 fast craft seen here off Bedok Jetty made up just under half of the RSN's active strength of 24 frontline fast craft. With about eight hulls (30%) in refit or under maintenance at any one time, this left a meagre force for the seaward defence of a maritime nation that was (and still is) heavily dependent on seaborne trade. The Sea Wolf-class Missile Gunboats (L├╝rssen TNC45) with a main armament of five Gabriel anti-ship missiles (below) were then the pride of the Navy.

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) turned up in strength at the 1986 National Day Carnival held near the Bedok Jetty to mark Singapore's 21st year of independence. 

The Navy anchored more than half of its active strength of 24 fast craft off East Coast Park in a show of force that was then unprecedented. Fourteen RSN fast craft took part: Six Coastal Patrol Craft (drawn from two squadrons of 12 CPCs), four Missile Gunboats (out of six), four Patrol Craft (out of six). The tank landing ship, RSS Excellence L202, beached itself near the Bedok Jetty as an exhibition site.

For Singaporeans who never saw their Navy up close, the double lines of fast craft anchored close to shore made an impressive sight. Visitors were brought out to sea on Ramp Powered Lighters (RPLs) for a closer look at the warships as RSN officers gave them a guided tour of the warships using a microphone.

Looking back, the RSN was at a pivotal moment in 1986. A new type of fast missile craft called Missile Corvettes had been ordered under Project S. Political office holders were now enlightened to the importance of the Navy and were prepared to give the RSN renewed emphasis. 

Every ship you see here has been replaced in a new, invigorated Navy that builds on the efforts and sacrifices of hardworking RSN pioneers from a different era. We honour them all.

 Swift-class CPCs backlit by the morning sun.
A 20mm Oerlikon, aimed by a spiderweb sight and Mark1 eyeball. The gun was fitted on the CPCs and Vosper Patrol Craft "A" and "B" classes.
The 1986 National Day Carnival marked the first (and only?) time the RSN displayed a County-class LST in the up-gunned configuration. RSS Excellence had two Bofors 40mm L/70 guns and two Oerlikon 20mm cannon added on deck to complement its usual armament of a single 40mm Bofors on the bow plus about six pintle-mounted 12.7mm MGs around the ship (two bow, two side of bridge, two at the stern). Note how the low tide has exposed the steep beach gradient. I took this shot early in the morning after walking to the Bedok Jetty from home and returned in the afternoon to queue up to visit the LST. 

After many trips stalking the LSTs at Bedok Jetty, my visit to Excellence was my first time aboard a tank landing ship. The trip was awesome and the RSN ambassadors did a splendid job hosting the public. Thank you for forging such a positive first impression which I fondly remember more than 30 years on. 

NOTE: So Singapore has extended the circuit breaker for four more weeks till 1 June 2020. I've no problem sustaining the daily photos till then. If there's something in particular you want to see, please drop me a line in the comments or email. Only unclassified platforms and systems please!  :-)

7 comments:

ernest said...

infantry photos? Armour formation? Thank you!

IAF said...

SAF in the 80s!

Gerald Tan said...

Helicopters please!

Dangermon said...

Thanks for all the great photos! Bloodhound missiles, Skyvans or SAR birds could be interesting as they are seldom seen?

colsschopra said...

Thank you for sharing! Lovely memories.

totoro said...

Would like to see some write ups on the SAF Display of the early years, especially those held at Changi.

Vasenta said...

Please write up more on Singapore Exercise/Ops such as Ops Bacinet, Crimson Angel, Thunderstorm, ThuderBolt etc. 1991 PUKUL HABIS OPERATION