|Unit Name:||Republic of Singapore Navy|
|Start Date:||January 1, 1966|
|Role:||Maritime supremacy / Sea defence|
|Command Structure:||Singapore Armed Forces|
|Current Commander:||Rear Admiral (Two Stars) Chew Men Leong|
|Current Commander Label:||Chief of Navy|
|Identification Symbol Label:||RSN crest|
The Republic of Singapore Navy (Abbreviation: RSN; Chinese: 新加坡共和国海军部队; Malay: Angkatan Laut Republik Singapura, Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர் கடல் படை) is the navy of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), responsible for the defence of Singapore against sea-borne threats and protection of its sea lines of communications. Operating within the crowded littoral waters of the Singapore Strait, the RSN is regarded as one of the best in the region. All commissioned ships of the RSN have a prefix RSS, which means Republic of Singapore Ship.
The RSN traces its origins to the Royal Navy in the 1930s with only two patrol craft. The Straits Settlements Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve was established on 20 April 1934 and in 1941 became the Singaporean division of the Malayan Volunteer Reserve during World War II.
In 1948 the Malayan Force was raised by the Singaporean government and was later granted the title of the Royal Malayan Navy in 1952 in recognition of its services in action during the Malayan Emergency.
On 16 September 1963, Singapore was admitted as a state of Malaysia under the terms of confederation and the Royal Malayan Navy was renamed the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN). The Singapore division of the Malayan Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve was formally transferred from the command of the Royal Navy to the RMN on 22 September 1963, becoming the Singapore Volunteer Force (SVF).
On 9 August 1965, Singapore seceded from Malaysia to form an independent and sovereign nation within the Commonwealth of Nations. The fledging navy had only two wooden ships then, namely RSS Panglima and RSS Singapura . On 22 January 1966, the SVF was renamed the Singapore Naval Volunteer Force (SNVF).
The SDC was renamed the Maritime Command (MC) in 1968, which is the predecessor of the RSN. The MC then went on an expansion program to carry out its seaward defence more effectively. The RSN came into being on 1 April 1975, when the SAF established its component forces into three distinct services.
The RSN is led by the Chief of Navy (CNV). The current CNV is Rear Admiral Chew Men Leong and he is responsible for the RSN's overall operational capabilities and administration. The CNV reports directly to the Chief of Defence Force, a three-star general. The organisation chart below shows the administrative chain of command with five formations: the Fleet, Coastal Command, Naval Diving Unit, Naval Logistics Command and Training Command.
In 1995, the RSN acquired a Challenger class (formerly known as Sjöormen class) submarine from the Swedish Navy and another three in 1997, making them Singapore's first underwater platforms. As the submarines were designed by the Swedish for operations in the Baltic Sea, various modifications were required to suit them to tropical waters. A comprehensive tropicalisation programme was carried out for all four submarines, which involves installing air conditioning, marine growth protection systems and corrosion-resistant piping.
Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has signed an agreement with Kockums for the supply of two Västergötland class submarines to the RSN on 4 November 2005. Currently in reserve with the Swedish Navy, the submarines will be transferred to the RSN on completion of the modernisation and conversion for operation in tropical waters. The submarines are expected to enter service from 2010 and will replace some of the Challenger class submarines. It is believed that the Challenger class were purchased to develop the required submarine operations expertise before selecting a modern class of submarines to replace them, since all the boats are over 25 years old. The four submarines form the 171 Squadron of the RSN.
|Displacement||1130 tonnes surfaced, 1200 tonnes submerged|
|Speed||10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced, 16 knots (30 km/h) submerged|
The Formidable class multi-role stealth frigates are the latest platforms to enter into service with the RSN, and are multi-mission derivatives of the French Navy’s La Fayette class frigate. The frigates are key information nodes and fighting units, and are “by far the most advanced surface combatants in Southeast Asia".
The frigates will be equipped with Sikorsky S-70B naval helicopters, an international derivative of the United States Navy SH-60B Seahawk. The MINDEF signed a contract with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in January 2005 to acquire six of these helicopters, which will be organic to the frigates. These naval helicopters are equipped with anti-surface and anti-submarine combat systems, extending the ship’s own surveillance and over-the-horizon targeting and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The naval helicopters will be raised as a squadron in the Republic of Singapore Air Force and piloted by air force pilots, but the system operators will be from the RSN. The naval helicopters are projected for delivery in late 2009.
|Crew||70, excluding air attachment of about 15|
|Speed||27 knots (50 km/h)|
In 1983, the RSN ordered six Victory class corvettes from Fredrich Lürssen Werft of Germany. The first corvette was built in Germany while the remaining five were built locally by ST Marine. The corvettes were also the first class of ships in the RSN to have an anti-submarine capability. The corvettes are noted for their tall mast, making them top-heavy compared to ships of similar class. However, this is suitable within the fairly calm Singapore waters. The six corvettes form the 188 Squadron of the RSN.
|Speed||30 knots (56 km/h)|
The Fearless class patrol vessels were built locally by ST Marine to replace the older coastal patrol crafts, which were transferred to the Police Coast Guard. The first six vessels of the class are armed for anti-submarine warfare missions, and were placed under the command of the Fleet as 189 Squadron upon commission. In January 2003, RSS Courageous was badly damaged in a collision with a container ship in the Singapore Strait. In January 2005, 189 Squadron was transferred to the Coastal Command from the Fleet, and the twelve ships now form the 182/189 Squadron.
|Speed||20 knots (37 km/h)|
The Endurance class amphibious transport docks are the biggest class of ships in the RSN. They were designed and built locally by ST Marine to replace the old County class tank landing ships (LST). Each ship is fitted with a well dock which can accommodate four landing crafts, as well as a flight deck which can accommodate two medium lift helicopters. While the RSN describes the Endurance class as LSTs, they lack the beaching capability traditionally associated with LSTs and their well docks and flight decks qualifies the Endurance class more as amphibious transport docks.
The ships provide sea transportation for personnel and equipment for SAF's overseas training, as well as a training platform for RSN's midshipmen. RSS Endurance became the first RSN ship to circumnavigate the globe when it participated in the 2000 International Naval Review in New York City. The ships are also actively involved in humanitarian and disaster relief operations, notably in East Timor, the Persian Gulf and the tsunami-hit Indonesian province of Aceh. The four ships form the 191 Squadron of the RSN.
|Speed||15 to 20 knots (28 to 37 km/h)|
The RSN acquired mine countermeasure capabilities as early as 1975, when the USN's USS Thrasher and USS Whippoorwill were reactivated by the RSN's engineers and technicians in California. The Bluebird class coastal minesweepers were commissioned as RSS Jupiter and RSS Mercury.
These two ships were eventually replaced by the Bedok class mine countermeasures vessels. The first ship, RSS Bedok, was built by Karlskronavarvet in Sweden based on the Landsort class design. The remaining three ships were prefabricated in Sweden and transferred to Singapore for final assembly by ST Marine. The ships are constructed of glass reinforced plastic to maintain low magnetic and acoustic signatures. The ships form the 194 Squadron of the RSN.
|Speed||15 knots (28 km/h)|
The RSN operates the Protector unmanned surface vehicles. They were deployed together with the Endurance class landing platform dock ships to the North Persian Gulf for peacekeeping operations in 2005, where they performed surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as force protection duties for more than eight hours at a go.
|Weapons||Typhoon Weapon System with the CIS 50 12.7 mm machine gun|
The Sea Wolf class missile gunboats were acquired in 1968, based on the TNC 45 design from Fredrich Lürssen Werft. The first two gunboats were constructed in Germany, while the remaining four were constructed locally by ST Marine (then known as Singapore Shipbuilding and Engineering). As new technology became available, these gunboats underwent a number of upgrading programmes in the 1980s and 1990s to increase their strike capability and sophistication. On 13 May 2008, all six gunboats were retired at a sunset decommissioning ceremony held at Changi Naval Base following 33 years of service.
|Speed||30 knots (56 km/h)|
Tuas Naval Base (TNB) is the second naval base in the RSN's history. Located at the western tip of Singapore, it occupies 0.28 km² (0.11 mi²) of land. It was officially opened on 2 September 1994 by the second prime minister Goh Chok Tong.
For about two decades, Brani Naval Base was the RSN's only base. An expansion of the fleet in the early 1980s meant that more space was needed for the fleet and its shore infrastructure. However, this was not possible as the land around Brani was reserved for use by the port authority to develop container facilities. As a result, Tuas was selected as the site for a second naval base.
Better utilisation of space at TNB resulted in two and a half times more berthing space than Brani, even though TNB only has a shoreline of 850 m (0.5 mi). Provision was also made for recreational facilities. Automation was incorporated into the design of TNB to reduce manpower requirements, such as mechanical ramps for the loading and unloading of vehicles and an automatic storage and retrieval system. It also has a floating dock which can lift 600 tonnes and transfer a ship from sea to land to facilitate repairs and maintenance.
Currently, the missile corvettes, patrol vessels and mine counter-measures vessels are based at TNB.
Changi Naval Base (CNB) is the latest naval facility of the RSN and was built to replace Brani Naval Base. Located on 1.28 km² (0.50 mi²) of reclaimed land at the eastern tip of Singapore, it was officially opened on 21 May 2004 by Goh Chok Tong.
Its 6.2 km (3.9 mi) berthing space can accommodate an aircraft carrier and is often used by visiting ships of the USN.
Automation was incorporated into the design of CNB to reduce manpower requirements. It has an automated underground ammunition depot that allows ammunition to be loaded onto the ships and an automated warehouse system to store items. The base has a fibre optic broadband network for information management. The base was also designed to be environment-friendly, with small-scale wind turbines powering the lights along the breakwaters at night. Conventional roof construction materials were substituted by thin film solar panels and the solar energy generated lights the base. In addition, seawater is used in the air-conditioning system.
Currently, the submarines, frigates and amphibious transport docks are based at CNB. Also co-located in CNB is the Changi Naval Training Base, also known as RSS Panglima - named in honour of the first ship of the navy.
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