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.
Minister for Defence Dr. Ng Eng Hen officiated at the launching ceremony of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s first Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), Independence, at the Singapore Technologies Marine (ST Marine)’s Benoi shipyard on July 3. The LMV was launched by Mrs. Ivy Ng, wife of Dr. Ng.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Ng highlighted that a strong and capable the Republic of Singapore Navy was critical in securing Singapore’s economic lifeline and protecting our sea lines of communication. He commended the professionalism and commitment of the people of the RSN, saying that it was because of their fervent belief of the mission, «that today we are able to stand here together amid peace and security of our surrounding seas». He also recognised the strong partnership between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), the defence technology community and local industry partners for the LMV project. Dr. Ng added, «The LMVs are uniquely Singaporean, having been planned, conceptualised and built locally to meet our requirements».
The launch of Independence is a significant milestone in the RSN’s continued transformation to keep Singapore’s seas safe. The new LMVs are smarter and faster ships, equipped with sharper capabilities to further strengthen the RSN’s ability to ensure the seaward defence of Singapore. They possess lethal and non-lethal options to deliver calibrated responses to deter and defend against a wide range of threats. The advanced radars and sensors, as well as the bridge with a 360-degree out-of-window view, enable the LMVs to have an all-round visual awareness of its immediate surroundings in congested waters.
The LMVs – with its Integrated Command Centre comprising the Bridge, Combat Information Centre and Machinery Control Room – will boost operational effectiveness and efficiency, especially during maritime security operations. The networked-centric ships also possess numerous sense making and decision support systems, which are supported by a high level of automation, so that they can be manned by a leaner crew. In addition, logistics and engineering support were considered during the design of the Independence to enhance the operational readiness of the ship.
The first LMV is named «Independence» and continues the tradition set by our pioneers in safeguarding Singapore’s waters. The first ship that was acquired and built for the RSN in 1968 was a patrol craft named RSS Independence. This name was also inherited by the last of RSN’s patrol vessels. The LMV Independence will carry on the legacy of her predecessors to defend Singapore’s independence and protect our maritime interests.
Independence will be delivered to the RSN in 2016 and is expected to be fully operational by 2017. The keel for the second LMV was recently laid in May 2015. All eight LMVs are expected to be fully operational by 2020 and will replace the existing Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PVs), which have served the RSN well for 20 years.
In addition, present at the ceremony were Second Minister for Defence Mr. Lui Tuck Yew, Minister of State for Defence Dr. Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Lai Chung Han, senior officials from Ministry of Defence and the SAF, as well as members of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs.
Factsheet: Littoral Mission Vessel
In January 2013, Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd for the construction of eight littoral mission vessels (LMVs) for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The eight LMVs are «uniquely Singapore» – built by ST Engineering’s subsidiary ST Marine (ST Marine) locally, based on a design jointly developed by ST Marine and Saab Kockums AB. The Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) is the overall programme manager and systems integrator for the LMV programme. The eight new LMVs will replace the RSN’s Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PVs), which have been in service for 20 years.
LMV Overview: Smarter, Faster, Sharper
The new LMVs are highly capable warships designed and equipped with advanced combat capabilities and technologies to further strengthen the RSN’s ability in the seaward defence of Singapore and protecting our sea lines of communication.
(A) Smarter Ship
Innovative Operating Concepts. The LMVs are designed with an Integrated Command Centre where the ships’ Bridge, Combat Information Centre and Machinery Control Room are co-located. The Integrated Command Centre integrates and synergises the management of navigation, engineering, and combat functions to achieve greater operational effectiveness and efficiency, especially during maritime security operations.
Innovative Logistics and Engineering Design. Key design elements for the LMV were incorporated to improve efficiency in logistics and engineering support. In «designing the support», the LMVs’ operational readiness will be enhanced as less time will be required for maintenance of the ships. One example is the stacked mast, where 90 percent of the parts that require regular maintenance are housed in an enclosed environment and easily accessible within the mast, instead of outside in most ships’ designs. The ship’s platform and combat systems’ health status can also be transmitted back to shore for centralised monitoring and prognosis of the systems to detect anomalies and plan for pre-emptive maintenance.
Advanced Sense-Making and Decision Support Systems. Numerous sense making and decision support systems, complemented by a high level of automation in the ship, are incorporated into the LMV’s combat and platform suite. This will enhance situational awareness and accelerate decision-making. The LMVs’ Combat Management System features a fusion and identification engine to better identify, track and manage contacts, and a threat evaluation weapon assignment engine to prioritise and assign the relevant weapons to counter threats. The LMVs are also designed with an advanced Integrated Platform Management System, which enhances operational effectiveness and is able to better manage consequences such as engineering defects, or fire and flooding situations.
Network-Centric Design. The LMVs are equipped with an advanced integrated communication and network system to enable the crew to communicate and share information on board. This includes tracking of the ship’s equipment and logistics status as well as crew movement. In addition, the LMVs will be connected to the larger Integrated Knowledge Command and Control network in the Singapore Armed Forces to share information with deployed forces and tap on the expertise from shore headquarters in areas such as operations and engineering support.
(B) Faster Speed
In terms of displacement, the LMVs are 2.5 times larger than the PVs and possess better sea-keeping capabilities to operate in higher sea state conditions. The LMVs also have greater endurance and are able to stay at sea for longer periods of time. In addition, the LMV’s ability to respond rapidly to maritime security incidents is further enhanced with its faster speed in excess of 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and the ability to support a medium-lift helicopter. The LMVs are also highly manoeuvrable and can operate in confined and congested littoral waters effectively.
(C) Sharper Capabilities
More Versatile. The LMVs are versatile and can be quickly configured with mission modules to take on a wide spectrum of operations. For example, the LMVs can be configured to embark rigid hull inflatable boats, boarding teams and a helicopter to conduct maritime security operations. They could also be configured with medical modules to support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Search-And-Rescue (SAR) operations. In addition, the LMVs may be deployed with unmanned systems for surveillance or mine countermeasure operations.
Calibrated Responses. The LMVs are equipped with both lethal and non-lethal options to deliver calibrated responses to deter or defend a wide range of threats. This ranges from long-range acoustics devices, water cannon system, small and large calibre guns, to anti-missile missiles.
Superior Surveillance Capabilities. Equipped with a three-dimensional surveillance radar system and two high-resolution navigation radars, the LMVs will be able to detect surface targets better in the congested environment. For target identification, the LMVs are equipped with a 360° panoramic day and night camera suite, comprising an all-round surveillance system and four electro-optics directors, and a 360° bridge that offers an unobstructed view to achieve all-round visual awareness of its immediate surroundings. This is essential in our congested waters where there is a high concentration of shipping and fishing activities amidst island groups.
The LMV programme is progressing well. The first LMV, Independence, was launched on 3 July 2015. The launch of Independence marked a significant milestone for the LMV programme. Following the launching, installation of combat systems on board Independence will commence before it undergoes sea trials. Independence is expected to be delivered to the RSN in 2016 and will be fully operational by 2017. All eight LMVs are expected to be fully operational by 2020.
262.5 feet/80 m
39.4 feet/12 m
9.8 feet/3 m
in excess of 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km (up to 14 days)
Thales NS100 3D Surveillance Radar
Kelvin Hughes Sharpeye Navigation Radar
STELOP 360º All-Round Surveillance System
STELOP Compass D Electro-Optic Director
MBDA MICA Anti-Air/Anti-Missile Missile System
OTO Melara 76-mm Gun
Rafael 25-mm Typhoon Gun
OTO Melara 12.7-mm Hitrole Gun
Remote Control Long Range Acoustic Device and Xenon Light