Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated at the commissioning of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s first-of-class Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), RSS Independence, at Changi Naval Base today. The commissioning ceremony was held in conjunction with the RSN's Golden Jubilee celebrations, which commemorates 50 years of the RSN being the maritime force for a maritime nation.
With the commissioning, the RSS Independence becomes fully operational and will join the rest of the Navy to fulfil a wide spectrum of operations to safeguard Singapore's waters, protect its sea lines of communication and contribute to regional peace and security. Designed and built locally, the Independence-class LMV is jointly conceived by the RSN and the Defence Science and Technology Agency. It pushes the boundaries of engineering and design in delivering a more capable, faster and mission-flexible ship with better seakeeping and endurance that can be manned with a leaner crew to replace the Fearless-class Patrol Vessels. Featuring many innovative "firsts", the commissioning marks a significant milestone in the continued transformation of the RSN into a sharper, smarter and stronger Navy.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, PM Lee highlighted the significance and historic value of the name of RSS Independence. PM Lee said, "It is a significant and historic name. Significant, because protecting Singapore's independence has always been a core mission of the RSN. Historic, because the name "Independence" carries the legacy and spirit of the RSN pioneers starting from the first RSS Independence, the patrol craft, which played a key role during the Laju ferry hijacking in 1974." PM Lee further commended the efforts of RSN personnel past and present in transforming a fledgling constabulary force of just two wooden ships into a strong maritime force today. Emphasising the RSN's vital role as the front line of Singapore's maritime defence, he added that the RSN servicemen are entrusted with a vital mission to protect Singapore's sovereignty and safeguard us from threats from the sea, and addressed the Navy saying, "It is now your duty to sail the ships of the next generation Navy, and keep Singapore safe and secure, in peacetime as in war."
As part of the commemorative activities, PM Lee launched the RSN50 Commemorative Book titled "A Maritime Force for a Maritime Nation - Celebrating 50 Years of the Navy". The book features articles and interviews chronicling the experiences and achievements of the men and women of the RSN. PM Lee also launched the RSN50 Doodle Wall, an art mural that depicts Singapore's rich maritime heritage alongside the progress of the RSN. An RSN50 time capsule, comprising items symbolic of the RSN's key achievements over the past 50 years, was then sealed by PM Lee.
At the event, PM Lee also interacted with personnel from the RSS Independence during a visit to the ship, where he was briefed on its systems and capabilities. He was hosted by Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Lai Chung Han, with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and other senior officials from Ministry of Defence and the SAF in attendance.