D&S 2019: Singapore achieves final Independence
ST Engineering handed over the last of eight Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessels (LMV), one that is christened Fearless, to the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) on 5 November. This completes a five-year construction project since the keel was laid down for the lead ship.
Fearless was launched on 26 January. So far, five LMVs have been commissioned: RSS Independence, Sovereignty, Unity, Justice and Indomitable. Fortitude and Dauntless await commissioning along with Fearless by 2020.
Fearless is the namesake of the Fearless-class patrol vessel that the LMV is designed to replace. Currently only two of these original eleven patrol vessels are left in service.
Operated by the RSN’s Maritime Security Task Force, the LMVs are being used extensively for maritime security operations. The larger platform and better seakeeping allow them to stay on station for longer periods.
Most recently an LMV participated in Exercise Highcrest, a maritime security exercise, showcasing its ability to integrate with the Police Coast Guard and to interdict small vessels.
It has been reported that the RSN has trialled the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter on RSS Sovereignty. As revealed by satellite photos, RSS Sovereignty bears different deck markings that are not designed for helicopter landings.
RSS Unity and Justice do not appear to have helicopter deck markings either, suggesting future vertical take-off and landing UAV operations from these vessels too.
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