The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the United States Navy (USN) are conducting the third edition of the bilateral Exercise Pacific Griffin from 22 Jun to 7 Jul 2021. The exercise is held in the waters off Guam.
The RSN's Formidable-class frigates RSS Tenacious and RSS Stalwart, and the Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel RSS Fearless, exercised alongside USN's Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold, auxiliary ship USNS Amelia Earhart and a Los Angeles-class submarine, in a series of naval serials for the air, surface and underwater domains. RSN naval divers and their USN counterparts also conducted maritime counter-terrorism training and a combined boarding of a vessel of interest, simulated by RSN's training ship MV Avatar. In addition, the RSN fired torpedoes and conducted an Aster anti-air missile firing.
Exercise Pacific Griffin also saw the participation of RSAF fighters, who were rotationally deployed to Guam for unilateral training from May to Jul 2021. Exercising together, the RSN and RSAF executed a successful coordinated missile firing against a surface target. The RSN and RSAF also conducted other integrated missions in support of maritime operations during the exercise, strengthening the sea-air integration between the services.
RSN's Deputy Fleet Commander and the exercise task force commander, Colonel Ooi Tjin Kai highlighted the value of the exercise in enhancing professionalism between the two navies. He said, “Exercise Pacific Griffin is an important part of a series of regular bilateral interactions with our US counterparts. We always look forward to training with the USN as it provides us the opportunity to conduct exercises to hone our capabilities and enhance our cooperation."
The USN's Commander Task Force 71, Captain Chase Sargeant said that the exercise benefits the two navies by allowing each to deepen their shared knowledge, while bolstering a strong and enduring maritime relationship. "Exercises like Pacific Griffin emphasise cooperation while building competencies in a complex and technologically-advanced training environment. This exercise demonstrates the trust and expertise we have built over the years with the RSN through increasingly complex and integrated training and live fire events," he said.
First conducted in 2017, Exercise Pacific Griffin highlights the strong navy-to-navy relations between Singapore and the US, as well as the excellent and long-standing bilateral defence relations between both countries. Apart from bilateral exercises, both navies also engage in a wide range of activities, including professional exchanges, cross-attendance of courses and participation in multilateral exercises. These regular interactions have enhanced cooperation and mutual understanding between the two militaries, and deepened personal and professional ties between their personnel.
Prior to their deployment, all SAF personnel have undergone pre-departure isolation and tested negative for COVID-19.