The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Indian Navy (IN) conducted the annual Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) from 2 to 4 September 2021. SIMBEX 2021 involved a virtual planning phase followed by a 'contactless' sea phase in the southern reaches of the South China Sea within international waters. The sea phase involved ships from both navies, and aircraft from the IN and Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).
The RSN participated in the exercise with a Formidable-class frigate (RSS Steadfast) with an S-70B naval helicopter embarked, a Victory-class missile corvette (RSS Vigour) and a submarine. The IN participated with a Rajput-class destroyer (INS Ranvijay) with a Chetak helicopter embarked, a Kamorta-class corvette (INS Kiltan), a Kora-class corvette (INS Kora) and a P-8I maritime patrol aircraft. Four F-16C/D fighters and a Fokker-50 maritime patrol aircraft from the RSAF also participated in the exercise.
During the exercise, the two navies executed a series of naval serials in the air, surface and underwater domains, including gunnery live-firing, replenishment-at-sea approaches, as well as manoeuvring and communication exercises.
The successful conduct of SIMBEX 2021 underscores the strong and long-standing defence ties between both navies. Commanding Officer of RSS Steadfast, Lieutenant Colonel Carlin Song said, "The exercise gave us a valuable opportunity to hone our professional competencies and enhance our mutual understanding. That we were able to execute this smoothly without meeting face-to-face is testament to the good understanding that our Navies have built up over the years."
First conducted in 1994, SIMBEX 2021 marks the 28th edition of the exercise, making it one of the RSN's longest-running bilateral maritime exercises. Over the years, SIMBEX has grown both 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.