The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Indian Navy (IN) conducted the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) from 16 to 22 May 2019. Hosted in Singapore this year, the exercise comprised a shore phase held at RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base, and a sea phase in the South China Sea. This year's exercise is the 26th edition of SIMBEX, which has been held since 1994.
The RSN participated in the exercise with a frigate (RSS Steadfast with an S-70B naval helicopter embarked aboard) and a missile corvette (RSS Valiant), while the IN participated with a destroyer (INS Kolkata embarked with a Chetak helicopter), an oiler (INS Shakti embarked with a Sea King helicopter), and a P-8I maritime patrol aircraft. Four F-16D+ fighter aircraft and a Fokker-50 maritime patrol aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force also participated in the exercise.
During the exercise, the two navies worked together to plan and execute advanced naval warfare serials, including gunnery live-firing. The sea phase culminated in mission-oriented exercises where ships and aircraft participated in a series of air defence and surface warfare missions.
The successful conduct of SIMBEX 2019 underscores the strong and long-standing defence ties between both countries. Commanding Officer of RSS Steadfast, Lieutenant Colonel Carlin Song said, “The exercise gave us a valuable opportunity to work together and learn from one another, and also strengthened the close bonds between our sailors."
Over the years, SIMBEX has grown in scope and complexity, expanding beyond conventional naval warfare to include elements of maritime security. Apart from SIMBEX, the two navies interact regularly through a range of activities, including professional exchanges, staff talks, and training courses.