According to Ridzwan Rahmat, Jane’s Navy International correspondent, Singapore shipbuilder ST Marine has laid down the third of eight Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs) on order for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). A keel-laying ceremony for the 1,200-tonne vessel at ST Marine’s shipyard in Jurong was attended by the country’s chief of defence force, Major General Perry Lim, and navy chief Rear Admiral Lai Chung Han.
ST Marine is building all eight vessels under a contract announced in January 2013 to replace the RSN’s 11 Fearless-class patrol vessels that have been in service since the mid-1990s. The platform has been jointly designed by Saab Kockums AB and ST Marine.
The LMV has a length of 262.5 feet/80 m, a beam of 39.4 feet/12 m, and a draught of 9.8 feet/3 m. Powered by two MTU 20V 4000 M93 engines, the 1,250-tonne platform has a top speed in excess of 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and a standard range of 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h. The platform can accommodate a baseline crew complement of 23 including five officers and has a mission endurance of 14 days.
The Independence-class ships will each be armed with one Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid main gun as a primary weapon, two Oto Melara Hitrole 12.7-mm remote-controlled weapon stations (one each on the port and starboard sides), and one stern-facing Rafael 25-mm Typhoon stabilised naval gun system. The vessels will also be equipped with a 12-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS) in the forward section that can deploy MBDA’s VL Mica anti-air missile system.
The platform can embark one medium-lift helicopter on its flight deck and two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) or the Protector Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) at its stern.