Sunday, May 19, 2013

Republic of Singapore Navy Formidable-class stealth frigates display upgraded capabilities at Navy Open House 2013

Three decks of the Singapore navy's Formidable-class stealth frigates (FFS) went on show at this weekend's Navy Open House - every one of them with a different equipment fit.

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Navy Open House marked the first time new design evolutions to the stealth frigates went on public display. It was also the first occasion when three different upgrade evolutions went on show at the same time.

Visitors who made time to tour RSS Intrepid, RSS Steadfast and RSS Tenacious at the two-day event (18-19 May 2013) may have noticed upgrades made to sensors, equipment and armament options aboard these 114-metre long warships.

The changes - some subtle, some pretty obvious even to untrained eyes - underline ongoing projects that are tailored to keep the six stealth frigates with the RSN's 185 Squadron at the top of their game.

Here are the pictures.
Same but different
FFS Missile Deck (Portside)
RSS Steadfast: Anchor points for mounting three quad launchers were seen on each side of the SSM deck. Boxes for attaching missile umbilical wiring that connect missile to CIC were also evident. Maximum warload: 24 Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

RSS Intrepid: Central missile cluster has been replaced by a crane, dubbed the Launch and Recovery System or LARS, which was used to handle the warship's RHIBs during the counter piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden. Codenamed Ops Blue Sapphire (Maritime), the mission saw ITR deployed in the vicinity of the Gulf of Aden for three months from September 2012.

RSS Tenacious: Frigate 4 used the design template which configured Intrepid for Operations Other Than War (OOTW). The LARS is where it should be but Fleet RSN doubled the Harpoon warload to eight missiles. The Navy Open House 2013 is believed to be the first time a Formidable-class stealth frigate was displayed with quad packs of Harpoons.

FSS Missile Deck (Starboard side)
RSS Steadfast: The stb'd missile configuration is a mirror image of what is found on the opposite side of the deck. Note the large footprint of the SSM deck which allowed Singaporean defence engineers and naval architects to find deck space to fit the RHIBs used during counter piracy sweeps.

RSS Intrepid: RHIBs used during Operation Blue Sapphire (Maritime) display the Harpoon racks and associated boxes for attaching umbilical cables that connect missiles to the warship's nerve centre.

RSS Tenacious: The second FFS configured for OOTW, Tenacious shows the storage area for RHIBs. Note that the RHIBs carried aboard TNC have less powerful engines that the ones used by ITR during OBS(M).

Takeways from NOH 2013 from the SSM deck observations:
1. The pictures plainly show that the stealth frigates can be from the same class of ship, yet very different.

2. As bulwarks either side of the SSM deck shield the deck cargo from outside observation (the bulwarks were added as a stealth design feature), it is impossible for observers to tell what lies within just by looking at a FFS from the outside. Every opportunity should therefore be taken to view Formidable-class stealth frigates at close range.

3. An understanding of the equipment (LARS and RHIBs), sensor (EO and FCR) and armament (25mm Typhoon guns) is not complete unless one makes an attempt to understand the reasons behind such evolutions. This would reward the observer with a clearer understanding of how the FFS may be employed.

4. The RSN's experience operating the frigates that carry the most number of SSMs in the world has apparently inspired local shipyard Singapore Technologies Marine to do the same with its Fearless-class multirole frigates. Compare the SSM deck of the FSS that you just read about with the one shown on the model of the proposed Fearless frigate (below) at the IMDEX 2013 naval show.

You may also like:
WASS C310 anti-torpedo decoy. Click here

Magic moments aboard RSS Intrepid as special modifications go on show for the first time. Click here

RSS Tenacious displays latest evolution to OOTW upgrade. Click here


Anonymous said...

Where's the pic of the Fearless frigate?

Anonymous said...

Saturation attack enabled :-)

Anonymous said...

Go RSN! Always evolving to the needs of the operational environment... :)

Who said...

hmmm wonder if the harpoon launch will it damaged the RHIB since the location of the RHIB is located many things to ask u David...

140SQN said...

Increased firepower :) Good job RSN!

Anonymous said...

NOH 2013 displayed a upgraded corvette model, showing two quad SAM launchers,ie 8 launchers!!


Anonymous said...

8 SSM launchers.


Anonymous said...

Hi David, can kindly post more about the fearless class frigate design. Read on the web it is base on the 75 combat multirole petrol vessel. Had to miss the imdex due to kids SA1. Cheers.

David Boey said...

There will be a second post on the FFS upgrade, this time covering the upper works of the three ships displayed. There were a number of differences.

Will pencil in some thoughts on STM's frigate concept.

Best regards,


P.S. All the best for your kids SA1. For a moment there I thought you were referring to Russian SAMs.

SA1: Guild
SA2: Guideline etc

Anonymous said...

Thanks David. Remember when I was in primary school we don't feel so stress compared to now. The funny thing is i am not even taking the exams but the kids. So this mil blog is my hobby/coping mechanism to take me into away from the mundane reality of my insignificant existence. Into a world where we can dream of designing ships and weapon systems haha...

Anonymous said...

Someone on the other thread had confirmed that the decoy launchers on the foc'sle of the formidable is indeed one of the latest incarnation of the NGDS system.
Seems that RSN had upgraded from the previous NGDS variant.


Anonymous said...

Starboard side of the frigate has a boat bay. Is the RHIB too big for this? Otherwise why not use it?