Sunday, April 12, 2020

Circuit breaker Day 6 pix: Republic of Singapore Navy RSN Formidable-class stealth frigates

I was onboard RSS Steadfast (70) on 19 February 2009 when all six Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) 185 Squadron Formidable-class stealth frigates gathered in the South China Sea for a family picture. It was nice to see the squadron's full strength sail in formation for a photo call after a RSN fleet exercise that also involved a submarine and Republic of Singapore Air Force fighters in the maritime strike role.

The Super Puma photo ship (s/n 268) landed on Steadfast to pick up the photographers and film crew as the media was embedded on Steadfast.

Steadfast then sped up to join her sister ships, which by then had formed up line abreast with Formidable (68) on the far right. Steadfast was to form up to starboard of Formidable.

As I'm a little bit OCD, I felt the warships should have been arranged with pennant numbers in the proper sequence - Formidable (68), Intrepid (69), Steadfast (70), Tenacious (71), Stalwart (72) and Supreme (73). But as it was the first time I had seen all six stealth frigates at sea together, I didn't let the out of sequence photoshoot bother me.

It was impressive seeing the stealth frigates in close order sailing under perfect weather for the photocall.
A tense moment on the bridge of Steadfast as she takes rightmost position in the line abreast formation.
Once the photoshoot began the ships appeared to come even closer...

The above view shows how close the ships manoeuvred during the photo call. Seeing all those Thales Herakles radars spinning wildly at the same time made me wonder whether there was enough electromagnetic energy in the air to cook the sea birds. The still picture of the pyramid-shaped Herakles multi-function radars doesn't give you a sense of how unbalanced and wobbly the whole radar looks when it spins at 60 rpm. The memory of seeing the row of five large structures "wobbling" (an optical illusion due to the facets on the Herakles emitter and radar tower) at the same time is something that I vividly recall years after the embed.

Apparently, that line abreast formation is something that 185 SQN likes to do. Here's another attempt by the entire squadron, done on a separate occasion with all six FFS in an OCD-compliant photo call.

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