Maritime security capabilities strengthenedThe Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) is adding a new flotilla with a range of vessels to respond more swiftly and appropriately to expanding maritime incidents.
// Story Benita Teo
// Photos Ong Ji Xuan & courtesy of RSN
To further strengthen the RSN's capabilities in protecting Singapore's territorial waters and respond to evolving maritime security threats, the Maritime and Security Response Flotilla (MSRF) was stood up on 26 Jan.
The inauguration ceremony was held at RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base and officiated by Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Aaron Beng.
"The MSRF will strengthen Singapore's ability to deal with maritime security threats that have grown in scale and complexity through the years," said Commander MSRF Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Lee Jun Meng.
More calibrated response
As part of the restructured Maritime Security Command, the MSRF will be responsible for developing and operating calibrated capabilities to support the Singapore government in responding to maritime incidents. The capabilities raised by the MSRF will provide flexibility to meet the increased demands and a wider scope of maritime security operations, and offer greater persistence to protect Singapore's territorial waters.
At present, the MSRF will operate four Sentinel-class Maritime Security and Response Vessels (MSRVs). These MSRVs are former Fearless-class patrol vessels that have been refurbished to extend their operational lifespan.
The vessels will be installed with a range of calibrated capabilities such as a Long Range Acoustic Device and Laser Dazzler System to allow crew to project verbal warnings and issue visual warnings; a Typhoon Mk 25mm Gun, a 76mm OTO Melara Gun and a 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun; and fenders that enable the ship to come alongside vessels of interest quickly.
The first two of the MSRVs, MSRV Sentinel and MSRV Guardian, will become operational from today. Their sister ships MSRV Protector and MSRV Bastion will begin their service in the coming months.
Rounding off the fleet are two Maritime Security and Response Tugboats (MSRTs) that will assist in responding to incidents at sea and support base operations.
New purpose-built vessels
The MSRF will also operate purpose-built vessels when they are ready. These vessels, which are still in the early stages of concept design, are expected to be larger than the MSRVs, and be able to operate at sea for longer periods of up to a few weeks.
"As with our other navy craft, these vessels will be designed for lean manning and for modular capabilities. The new vessels will work with the Littoral Mission Vessels and Unmanned Surface Vessels to protect Singapore's territorial waters, and respond to maritime security threats," said LTC Lee.