RSN's littoral mission vessel fires its first anti-air missile in SG-US exerciseThe Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) conducted its inaugural firing of the MICA anti-air missile as part of Exercise Pacific Griffin 2023.
//Report by Thrina Tham / Photos Courtesy of RSN
An inbound missile approaches at low altitude. RSS Dauntless fires back with a MICA anti-air missile, intercepting the target.
This was the RSN's inaugural firing of the MICA by its Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) – validating the ship's anti-air capabilities.
The firing was part of Exercise Pacific Griffin, a bilateral exercise with the United States Navy (USN), held in Guam and its surrounding waters from 18 to 27 Jun.
Both navies conducted advanced naval warfare training as part of the exercise.
The RSN's frigate RSS Tenacious and LMV RSS Dauntless took part, along with the USN's guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh, littoral combat ship USS Manchester and dry cargo ship USNS Cesar Chavez.
Naval divers from both navies were also involved.
High-end training with US Navy
This year's Exercise Pacific Griffin marked the first time that both navies were commanding the task group on board the same vessel since the exercise first started in 2017, said Co-Commander Task Group Colonel (COL) Daniel Ng.
He co-commanded the task group with Deputy Commodore Destroyer Squadron 7, Capt. Sean Lewis on board RSS Tenacious. "This year we decided to embark on the ship together…and we found that there's a lot of value.
"Other than being able to make more coordinated decisions, the time out at sea allowed us to understand each other better, and we had long discussions and sharing on how we can improve our training and interaction."
On the value of the exercise, he said: "Guam offers a wide expanse of training space as well as…training resources which enable us to do high-end training."
"It also allows us to train with a very well-established navy, the USN. The chance to learn from them and increase cooperation with them is very valuable to us," added COL Ng, who also commands the RSN's First Flotilla.
He added that personnel from both navies conducted small community activities to aid the local community in Guam following Typhoon Mawar. This included helping to build shelter and beach-cleaning efforts.
Sharpening capabilities with missile firing
The exercise saw RSS Tenacious firing two anti-surface Harpoon missiles, as well as RSS Dauntless successfully firing the MICA anti-air missile for the first time.
"Prior to sailing for the exercise, there were multiple trials done to validate our systems (and) sensors. After that, there was planning to make sure the parameters were right and everything was going to be smooth for the firing," recalled Captain (CPT) Ken Cheong, Executive Officer of RSS Dauntless.
This exercise also marks the LMV's first overseas deployment since it was operationalised in 2020.
Other serials that took place included the escort of a high-value asset, naval gunnery firing, and a series of warfare missions by both navies.
RSN naval divers also conducted training such as maritime explosive ordnance disposal and maritime counter-terrorism operations.
Memorable experience for crew
As Chief of Staff on the Sea Combat Commander Team, Major (MAJ) (NS) Edsel Ang planned serials with other members of the team while on board RSS Tenacious.
The Operationally Ready National Serviceman, who is a manager at ST Engineering, said that support from his supervisors and wife allowed him to take on the 3-week exercise as part of his In-Camp Training.
"I was very excited to come back to sail, to get back my sea legs, and conduct the exercise with the staff in the Task Group," said MAJ Ang, who was formerly a Navy Regular.
"To be part of the missile firings on board RSS Tenacious was very special. And to be involved in the inaugural firing for the MICA is an opportunity I will treasure for a long time."
Also on board RSS Tenacious was Marine Systems Supervisor Military Expert 1 Deeban Kumar, who was responsible for ensuring that the ship's systems and equipment were well-prepared and maintained for the exercise.
He also doubled up in conducting aviation operations on the deck. "One of the most exciting experiences was landing the US naval helicopter on our deck," he recalled.
"I think it was the first time that the crew and aviation team worked on this – it was a very exciting and new experience and we also got to learn how their conduct their aviation operations."