Friday, April 24, 2020

Circuit breaker Day 18 pix: Republic of Singapore Navy RSN Changi Naval Base sail past 2004

RSS Resolution: Don't let the empty boat davits fool you. Tonne for tonne, the Singapore Navy's Endurance-class tank landing ships (RSS Resolution seen here) can carry more landing craft than any other amphib. In reality, the Endurance LST should be classed as a Landing Platform Dock (LPD). Note the winches and reinforced hull strake, which are yet another fitted-for-but-not-with feature that characterises many RSN warships. I hope Fleet RSN will allow Endurance to be photographed at least once before her retirement with all the bells and whistles attached to show people what she is truly capable of.

On Friday 21 May 2004, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) held a sail past at Changi Naval Base to mark its official opening that afternoon by then Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong.

All RSN ship types took part. We present the CNB official opening sail past, with ships arranged in the sail past order - LST, MCV, MGB, APV, PV, MCMV, sub.
RSS Valour: Before the Formidable-class stealth frigates arrived in 2007, Victory-class Missile Corvettes formed the Navy's sharp end of its surface fleet. In 2004, the MCVs retained their ASW suite that comprised a variable depth sonar and two triple Whitehead A.244S torpedo tubes. The 30-year-old MCVs are now the oldest RSN surface ships. The ASW gear was removed during an upgrade and replaced by a ScanEagle UAV system. This MCV is fitted-for-but-not-with something that can be added to its superstruture in front of the bridge wings.
RSS Sea Wolf: In their time, the Sea Wolf-class Missile Gunboats (Lürssen TNC45) carried the heaviest missile armament among RSN warships. You're looking at an open secret here. This MGB is fitted-for-but-not-with another two Gabriel anti-ship missiles. Now that the MGBs have been retired, do note the extra Gabriel missile pedestal to the right of the fourth sailor from the stern. Max missile warload for MGBs was four Gabriels and up to eight Harpoons. In comparison, MCVs could carry up to eight Harpoons. 

Though the Gabriels had a shorter range, the RSN liked the weapon as it was just the thing needed for anti-ship sweeps in congested waters as the semi-automatic command line-of-sight guidance from the open bridge gave the MGB control of the Gabriel when merchant ships were nearby. The missile operator guided the missile by tracking a flare on its tail. Harpoon's launch and leave feature made it better suited for open waters. The Formidable-class FFS take the fitted-for-but-not-with approach to a new level with a max anti-ship missile warload twice that of the MGBs. 
Even in daylight, the RSN's fast attack craft (above) are small and hard to detect. Imagine meeting this bunch during a night encounter exercise in congested littoral waters.
RSS Gallant (above) and RSS Sovereignty: The RSN had two types of Fearless-class Patrol Vessels. The Anti-submarine Patrol Vessel (APV) was equipped with a hull-mounted sonar and two triple Whitehead A.244S torpedo tubes while the Patrol Vessel variant lacked the ASW suite. The APVs and PVs had different deck fittings.   

RSS Bedok: The Bedok-class mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs) is a tropicalised and customised variant of Sweden's Landsort-class MCMV. The Bofors 40mm L/70 A-gun seen here has been replaced by a 25mm Bushmaster RCWS. Future MCMVs may be optionally manned. 
Challenger-class submarine: The RSN's oldest boats are its Challenger-class submarines, which first entered service with the Royal Swedish Navy around 1967/68. The effort and assets required to hunt and successfully persecute a single submarine is often out of proportion to manpower and size of the submarine itself. Even in the shallow waters of the South China Sea, a submerged and skilfully handled SSK is hard to find. [Tip for those photographing surfaced subs: Frame the sub so you can get the tail fin too.] 
Here we see the RSN in May 2004, haze grey and underway. A stirring sight indeed.

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