Friday, May 15, 2020

Circuit breaker Day 39 pix: Republic of Singapore Navy RSN Endurance class LSTs

WARNING: If you read this blog post, you'll never look at a Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Endurance-class LST the same way again because the ships look so underdressed with partially-filled boat davits.

Wow... No WOW!

Notice something special aboard RSS Resolution (208)?

John Wilson's pictures of RSS Resolution in Brisbane show her with a full load of Fast Craft Equipment Personnel (FCEPs) on her davits. Count 'em! Her davits are fully loaded portside too.

These pictures of Resolution with her superstructure festooned with FCEPs are the most impressive we've seen of the Endurance-class LSTs. Most times, you see at most two FCEP landing craft on each side.

Sealift capability
With 10 FCEPs topside and four larger Fast Craft Utility in her well dock, the LST can put one battalion of soldiers ashore in a single wave using her own assets. The ship also has a helideck with landing spots that can take two Super Pumas at the same time or one Chinook. The 141m Endurance-class can carry more landing craft than any other landing ship her size.

With four such LSTs on call, the RSN can land a brigade-sized landing force in one wave. The four LSTs will have up to 40 FCEPs and 16 FCUs to deliver troops and support vehicles from the sea.

Apart from the landing craft, the LSTs have one other asset called a Floating Bridge System (FBS) that can be strapped to the side of her hull. When released, the self-propelled platform forms a floating causeway. This asset deserves a separate post, so we'll feature the floating platform in an upcoming Circuit Breaker post. I have yet to see an Endurance-class LST fully loaded with FCEPs AND the FBS pontoons. Now that the FCEP capability has seen the light of day, am hopeful the LST+FBS combo will some day be unveiled too.

John's pictures were taken from 2016 to 2018 when Resolution sailed to Brisbane to support Exercise Trident, held in Australia's Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland. Do note that Exercise Wallaby 2020 has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Behold, Reso with a full house on her davits.

Previous RSS Resolution L204
Compare and contrast the first RSN vessel to carry the name Resolution, a County-class LST. Resolution is the last of six LSTs that remains in RSN hands.

Of the five other hulls, four were operational with 191 Squadron: RSS Endurance L201, RSS Excellence L202, RSS Intrepid L203 and RSS Persistence L205. A fifth LST hull was kept in mothballs but was not known to have entered active service. The RSN referred to her as RSS Perseverence.

Resolution is tied alongside at Tuas Naval Base. We hope the Navy has plans to keep her.

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Locust said...

Amazing! Could you do a scoop on the LMVs anti ship/sub capabilities pla if opsec.

As a Sgrean Im contented that we are putting every single cent spent on defence to good use. Take for example the Formidable. Even before the current mid life upgrade it is still more capable in terms of weaponry, sensors, systems etc. compared to new ships coming online in the region e.g. RMNs Gowind corvettes. There is always that extra quality which indicates an unsaid capability. The Formidables for e.g. has a draught of >6m compared to the Gowinds 3m.

ernest said...

Interested in our navy as well. Anything interesting on our corvettes and the newest LMVs? Would be good if theres anything on the mid life upgrades for our frigates. Everything short of OPSEC, hopefully!

ZHQ said...

If all our navy ships are not fitted with CIWS soon they no need talk further about battle cos they are sure doomed with direct face off with enemy ships n aircraft etc...

Locust said...

The OTO Melara super rapid dual-functions as CIWS.

ZHQ said...

Formidable? What is each ship defence stratechy under enemy's sustain attack? What can one stupid OTO Melara gun do? Very minimal only. Dont have the CIWS as last line of defence, all our navy ships are doomed for sure.

David Boey said...

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

sepecatgr1a said...

It appears that Formidable's only hard kill system against anti ship missiles is the Aster15 missile.

With new gen ASMs such as NSM with its passive seeker, very low RCS/IR signature, super sea skimming high g endgame weaving maneuvres designed specifically to evade the latest anti missile defences, NSM seems to be a very formidable weapon against the Formidable.

We can only wonder how effective the radar guided Aster 15 is against very low RCS targets such as NSM equippped ATR seeker, state of the art counter-counter measures, wave skimming, high g weave end game approach.

Modern Inner Layer Defences such as RAM and the 35 mm Millenium may be the answer to provide a much needed last ditch back up to the Aster 15.

Locust said...

I would put the pif paf super maneuvarability and supersonic capabilities of an Aster dart over the yet to materialize NSM in SEA.

sepecatgr1a said...

The Aster 15 is undoubtedly an extremely maneuvrable missile.
However it is well known that radar guidance/tracking ( and detection ) is degraded at low elevations due to multipath propagation, sea surface clutter etc. The above coupled with a very low RCS target such as NSM makes both detection & tracking even more difficult.

New generation low RCS anti ship missiles such as NSM & LRASM use IIR for missile end game guidance. Going forward, new generation or upgraded ASMs may add low RCS and supplementary IIR guidance features. Multiple end game guidance ( radar, IIR, LIDAR etc ) will most likely be the future for ASMs. They will significantly complicate warship anti ASM defences.

On up to date warships, 360 degree naval IRSTs such as Thales' Artemis and Rafael's Seaspotter now complement radars for the detection of low RCS targets. Even point defence systems such as Phalanx Block 1B have an additional FLIR sensor for use against low RCS missiles ( among other target sets ) to increase SeaRAM engagement range and accuracy.

Likewise, alternative hard kill anti ASM defences utilizing IIR guidance can complement Formidable's defences. Current systems include VL Mica ( IIR) as used in RSN's LMVs, SeaRAM , Umkhonto, Standard SM-2 Block IIIB ( IR to complement the semi active guidance channel ) and Seawolf Block 2 ( dual mode IR/RF guidance ).

Modern anti ASM gun systems such as the 35 mm Millennium with AHEAD are especially good as last ditch defences against ASMs. These guns are also excellent lower cost & versatile naval weapons systems. They are highly effective against aircraft, UAVs, small boats & swarm attacks. If coupled with a separate electro optic / fire control radar, they act as a back up to the main sensor ( radar ) systems.

Depending on a single anti ASM hard kill system is folly for a very high value warship such as Formidable.

Locust said...

That is what the manufacturers say on both sides of the coin. The developers of the Asters will say that the system is future proof (but to what extent).

At any rate the Formidables are getting a mid-life upgrade. I am confident that if such a need for an inner defensive system is required, it will be there.

Look at the French horizon and freda frigates - do they carry such systems as the formidable shares a common heritage.

Locust said...

A lot of new gen SSMs come with stealth if not its carriers - stealthy air planes.The Asters were built for these or so the manufacturers claim. Of course, the manufacturers of SSMs will claim otherwise - what else do you expect them to do.

I remain unconvinced with NSMs IIR sensor being a game changer. When you get such a sensor it is usually incoporated with other sensors e.g. lrasm.

The USN bought NSMs for its low end LCS because 1) 2 other contenders withdrew as the specs were lowered 2) close quarter combat - lcs has low range and small warhead.

sepecatgr1a said...

Naturally, all manufacturers make claims about the their products.

But as with all highly reputable manufacturers such as Kongsberg they back them up with technical details of how they attain the features they claim. They also demonstrate it with realistic end to end tests. Their claims are also validated by customers who test the weapons using their own weapons platforms as is the case of the US Navy for NSM.

Kongsberg claims NSM is the world's first 5 th. generation ASM.
It is the first of a new generation of Western ASM to be designed from the ground up with stealth capabilities. It also incorporates all the features required in a post cold war era ASM - stealth, excellent target discrimination effective in both open & confined waters, ability to attack land targets ( using GPS, a laser altimeter for terrain matching) etc.

Its dual band intelligent IIR seeker is specifically designed to detect low RCS warships and is claimed to be immune to ECM and lasers

Modern design, components & materials give the stealth NSM a low launch weight ( ~400 kg ) and a range greater than 100 nm. Its 225 kg class titanium cased prefragmented warhead ( with 120 kg high explosive) coupled with precise aim point targeting is highly effective against all but the very largest ship types. One does not require a large warhead to incapacitate a modern warship. Precise placement of a warhead in a critical section of a warship is more important.

With all the attributes above, NSM really appears to be a game changer compared to Harpoon II, Exocet 3, RBS15 Mk 4 etc

Legacy ASMs such as Harpoon, Exocet , RBS 15 etc developed during the cold war era were originally designed for a large RCS, clutter free open ocean target set with unhindered rules of engagement. Most if not all were radar guided and none had stealth features.
However, many of these these legacy ASMs have been updated with GPS. Most now have extended ranges. Some such as RBS15 Mk3 & 4 have reduced RCS.

So, by all accounts, the 400 kg NSM is an excellent ASM. Clearly it is definitely not a low end weapon and it costs between US$ 1.5 to 2.0 million each. It is in fact a state-of-the-art system medium range ASM. In contrast, the LRASM is a long range 1,000 kg weapon ( air launched & 2,000 kg ship launched ) and probably costs about US$5 to 6 million each.
The US Navy is not your run-of-the mill customer. Buying a non USA military weapon says a lot about the capability of the NSM. Poland & Germany have selected NSM for their navies. They are not 3rd world countries. Also, Kongsberg confirmed during LIMA2019 that they have commenced production of NSMs for Malaysia. We have to wait and see if they will be actually delivered to Malaysia.

I surely hope that Formidable's mid-life upgrade will incorporate the most up to date naval radars ( e.g. dual waveband AESAs ) and IRST to future proof detection of the upcoming generation of anti ship weapons. Back up anti ASM missiles ( probably IIR guided such as RAM ) or modern guns should be added.

I believe that French Navy FREMMs already have Artemis IRST installed.