Singapore Airshow 2020: Final LMVs commissioned, enhancements ongoing
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) commissioned its last three Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessels (LMV) on 31 January – RSS Fortitude, RSS Dauntless and RSS Fearless – with eight ships now in service.
All were commissioned within five years since the first-of-class RSS Independence was launched on 3 July 2015. This will also mark the imminent end of the Fearless-class patrol vessels, of which only two are left.
Fearless only took around eight months from launch to commission.
CO Maj Chew Chun Cheong and Jeffrey Tan, senior programme manager, project officer for naval systems at the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), said most issues were ironed out during sea trials of the lead ship RSS Independence, which took a little over a year and a half to commission in May 2017.
The design features have been demonstrated on numerous operations. Chew said the LMV is able to transmit and receive video communications with shore-based agencies thanks to wideband satellite communication, this enabling the ship and headquarters to react better to any situation at sea.
The DSTA will still be working with the RSN to take in operational inputs and make minor enhancements to the ships. A fleet management system powered by data analytics is currently being introduced, but is not yet operational.
Tan said unmanned systems such as vertical take-off UAVs are still in consideration, which would be useful in missions like search and rescue.
Shephard understands that a multitude of UAV systems were tested and are still being studied, and despite four ships not being painted with helicopter landing markings on their stern decks, there are no definite plans to split the fleet in terms of its function.
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