Fact Sheet: The Republic of Singapore Navy's Formidable-class Frigates and Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk Naval Helicopters

Fact Sheet: The Republic of Singapore Navy's Formidable-class Frigates and Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk Naval Helicopters


The frigate programme first started in the mid-1990s, to replace the RSN's fleet of ageing Sea Wolf-class Missile Gun Boats that were nearing the end of their operational lifespan. The Formidable-class frigates are the principal combatants of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), and form the sharp edge of its fighting force. The commissioning of the first frigate in 2007 marked a significant milestone in the RSN's 3rd generation transformation into a highly sophisticated and networked maritime force. 

High-end Warfighting Capabilities

Effective Operations Across Dimensions of Naval Warfare. Equipped with a wide-range of sensor and weapon systems, the frigates are capable of conducting operations across all three dimensions of naval warfare – air, surface and underwater. Sophisticated sensors such as the Multi-Function Radar enable the frigates to maintain air surveillance, while advanced weaponry like the Aster surface-to-air missiles allow the ships to provide effective air defence over a large area. The indigenously developed Combat Management System, developed by the Defence Science and Technology Agency and DSO National Laboratories, provides command and control of the various sensor and weapon systems onboard the frigates. It facilitates sense-making through functions such as sensor management, picture compilation, threat evaluation and weapon assignment.

Enhanced Connectivity and Better Situational Awareness. The comprehensive communications suite also connects the frigates with units at sea and ashore, including aircraft operating in the maritime theatre. Through the Singapore Armed Forces' Integrated Knowledge-based Command and Control network, the task force at sea is able to link up effectively with their sensors and shooters to gain a better level of awareness and speed up their decision-making cycle, allowing them to stay ahead of adversaries.

Integration with Organic Naval Helicopters

Sense Faster, See and Strike Further. The capabilities of the frigates are further enhanced with the integration of the Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk Naval Helicopters. The naval helicopters come with state-of-the-art avionics, sensors and sense-making systems. They play an essential role in the anti-surface and anti-submarine dimensions of warfare, and with the longer range and wider reach of the helicopters, it allows the frigate to sense faster, see and strike further. Each naval helicopter is operated by a crew of four, comprising two pilots from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), and a Sensor Supervisor and Tactical Coordination Officer from the RSN. 

Optimal Performance to meet the RSN’s Operational Requirements. These capabilities have strengthened the maritime awareness and mission effectiveness of the RSN. Integration between the vessels and their organic embarked naval helicopters are significant force-multipliers, and enable the RSN to undertake a wider spectrum of missions including maritime security and counter-piracy operations, naval warfare and supporting Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief efforts around the world. [1]

Figure 1: Formidable-class Frigate RSS Tenacious
Figure 1: Formidable-class Frigate RSS Tenacious


  Technical Specifications for Formidable-class Frigate
  Crew   72 RSN personnel
  19 air detachment (comprising RSN and RSAF personnel)
  Length   114m
  Beam   16m
  Displacement   3,200 tonnes
  Range   More than 3,500 nautical miles
  Speed   In excess of 25 knots
 Weapons   Harpoon Surface-to-Surface Missiles
  Aster Surface-to-Air Missiles
  Whitehead A244S Torpedoes
  Typhoon MK 25 Gun


Figure 2: Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk Naval Helicopter
Figure 2: Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk Naval Helicopter


  Technical Specifications for Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk Naval Helicopters
  Length   19.76m
  Weight   9.6 tonnes
  Range   About 400 nautical miles
  Endurance   About 3 hours
  Main Rotor Diameter   16.4m
  Tail Rotor Diameter   3.35m
  Hover Ceiling   About 2,200m
  Speed   About 140 knots
  Sensors and Weapons

  Surveillance Radar
  Helicopter Long Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) Dipping Sonar
  WHITEHEAD A244S Torpedoes
  Electro-optic System


[1] Such operations include multinational counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden under the ambit of Combined Task Force 151, and search and locate operations for the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 .

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