Singapore in massive drills with overseas navies, US marine corps
The city state's military forces have taken part in three international exercises within the past month
Two Victory-class missile corvettes from the Singapore Navy, the Valiant and Vigour, strutted their stuff during last week’s biennial multilateral Exercise Kakadu in the Northern Australian Exercise Area off the coast of Darwin.
The missile corvettes are multi-purpose vessels based on a design by Germany’s Lürssen shipyard for the Singapore Navy, and constructed in Singapore.
The Valiant has undergone a slew of upgrades, including the addition of a ScanEagle reconnaissance drone. The two corvettes are also fitted with anti-ship missiles including the Boeing Harpoon and Rafael systems as well as anti-submarine torpedoes.
Singapore’s Defense Ministry said the naval drill off Australia strengthened its corvettes’ abilities to operate alongside warships from foreign navies in combined defense missions and patrols along vital sea lanes as well as in maritime rescue operations.
Hosted by the Royal Australian Navy, this year’s exercise saw the participation of 23 warships, one submarine, 21 aircraft and more than 3,000 seamen from 27 navies, including those of Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, France, Canada, Chile and the United States.
The shore phase of the exercise was held from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5 and included joint exercise planning and a Fleet Commanders’ Conference attended by the commanders of the participating navies.
In the sea phase of the exercise from Sept. 6 to 13, seamen conducted surface warfare drills such as gunnery firing, maneuvering exercises and air defense exercises against fighter aircraft.
Singapore’s participation in the drill came hot on the heels of another exercise hosted by the US Navy at the end of August.
The 17th annual US-led Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training exercise was held in the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca and in Singapore waters, with virtually all navies across the region taking part in the 10-day drill.
For the 9th straight year, the exercise’s command post was at the Changi Command and Control Center in Singapore, where the city state showcased its Information Fusion Center and its newly enhanced information sharing portal.
A Maritime Security Professional Development workshop, part of the US-led naval drill, was also held in Singapore at the end of last month.
Meanwhile, a brigade of more than 1,000 elite troops from the 7th Infantry Brigade of the Singaporean Army, members of the 7th Marine Regiment of the US Marine Corps and supporting airmen detachments from the two militaries have also wrapped up the 27th edition of the annual bilateral Exercise Valiant Mark in Twentynine Palms, California last week.
In addition to Singapore’s F-16C/D fighter aircraft, this year’s exercise also marked the inaugural participation of the AH-64D Apache helicopters.
The exercise culminated in a battalion assault mission, involving joint planning and air-land integrated live-firing by both sides.