Thursday, August 10, 2017

Exercise Pacific Griffin: Republic of Singapore Navy RSN stealth frigates, Stalwart and Supreme, depart Changi Naval Base with LST/command ship, Endurance

File picture of USS Kitty Hawk at Naval Base Guam some years ago.

You can tell which warships are heading out to sea from the activity pierside.

Signal cables and transit lines linking ship to shore are disconnected. Cranes standby to lift the gangways aside and the shimmering heat haze and wisps of diesel smoke from the funnels show that engines are fired up and ready to go.

At Changi Naval Base this morning (10 August 2017), three Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) warships prepared to cast off. 

Their destination could be Guam, where they are likely to be involved in the inaugural Exercise Pacific Griffin (XPG), a naval warfare exercise involving the RSN and United States Navy (USN) said to be taking place this month.

Seen leaving CNB is the tank landing ship (LST), RSS Endurance (207). The 141-metre long warship – the largest in the navy - is joined by two 114-metre long stealth frigates, RSS Stalwart (72) and RSS Supreme (73). 

The warships are spotted eastbound in the Singapore Strait. Apra Harbor in Guam, a United States island territory, is some 2,500 nautical miles away in the Pacific Ocean. XPG could mark the first time three RSN warships are involved in naval war games held so far from Singapore.

Endurance-class LST mid-life upgrade
Though classed as an LST, Endurance is more than a floating transport vessel for vehicles and cargo. 

A mid-life upgrade performed some years ago by defence engineers from the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA) and Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engg) allows the LST to serve as a command ship during complex naval operations. Such cooperative engagements could involve RSN and friendly surface ships, warplanes and sub-surface assets like submarines and unmanned vessels. The warship’s ability to make sense of the electronic battlespace has likewise been enhanced.

What was once an empty conference room - which I first saw in December 2003 during the first Operation Blue Orchid (OBO1) when I sailed with Endurance in the Persian Gulf - has been fitted with computer workstations and plasma screens that connect the warship with other Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) sensors. 

A ship at sea can only see as far as the horizon as the curvature of the earth will mask contacts below the radar horizon. Following the upgrade, Endurance can exchange data with friendly assets, including those far beyond her immediate visual and radar horizon.

Warfighters aboard Endurance can therefore see first and see more, thanks to information transmitted to the warship securely and in realtime, improving her situational awareness.

Naval engagements with guided munitions mean that target vessels can be engaged within minutes by gunfire or missiles - much faster in the case of supersonic anti-ship missiles. Every moment of early warning is a precious advantage.

At XPG, the RSN’s cooperative engagement capability is expected to be put through realistic and rigorous scenarios that will practice how our warships will control a patch of sea and air space. together.

We wish the crew aboard Endurance, Stalwart and Supreme fair winds and following seas.... and good hunting.


Kenneth Kwok said...

Any info on what aircraft, manned or otherwise, are onboard?

tragickingdom said...

This comes at a time when DPRK threatens to target Guam. Heads up there must have made the assessment that it is all hot air and a shooting war will not ensue while our assets are there.

David Boey said...

@Kenneth Kwok,
Seahawk will be there. Do look out for the official announcement :)

Unknown said...

If you guys look closely... thats not hornet on the deck right??? I think F14tomcat.
Old photo

David Boey said...

Watching developments.
Assets can redeploy accordingly.

David Boey said...

@Gam Bit,
Yes, old pix plucked from Google.

Unknown said...

There are Hornets and Tomcats...
Yes... old photo...

Unknown said...

There are Hornets and Tomcats...
Yes... old photo...

AARONQFW said...

If I may, we hear much about the reputation of our fighting men at combined arms exercises such as Red/Green flag or Wallaby. How is our Navy viewed on ops/exercises? Would you happen to have any illustrative anecdotes?