The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has commissioned three of its newest Independence-class littoral mission vessels (LMVs) at Tuas Naval Base. Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo officiated at the commissioning ceremony of the Republic of Singapore Navy Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs) RSS Fortitude, RSS Dauntless and RSS Fearless. The commissioning of the final three LMVs marks a significant milestone for the RSN as all eight LMVs are operationalised, strengthening the Navy’s capabilities to safeguard Singapore’s waters, protect its Sea Lines of Communication and contribute to regional peace and security.
The Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) is a class of eight surface platforms that are slated to replace Fearless-class patrol vessel of the Republic of Singapore Navy. The Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) was jointly designed by Saab Kockums AB and ST Marine with Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) as the overall manager and systems integrator and was derived from Saab Kockum’s FLEXpatrol multi-mission patrol vessel. The design of the LMV was guided by two specific requirements. Construction of the first LMV, RSS Independence, commenced in September 2014 and commissioned in May 2017. The Independence-class are operationalised to the 182 Squadron within four and a half years since the first vessels were launched.
Manpower had been a critical concern for the Singapore Armed Forces and the design reflects attempts to increase the efficiency of a reduced manning crew from 30 to 23. This was achieved through increased levels of automation and remote monitoring. Another key feature is the Integrated Command Centre which combines the ship’s bridge, combat information centre (CIC), and machinery control spaces. The other requirement reflected in the design of the LMV is the need to handle multiple roles, from low intensity conflicts to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations. The requirement is met through the ability to dynamically reconfigure the LMV through containerised mission packages. The LMV is also equipped with a unique, twin stern slipways from PALFinger Marine for the launch and recovery of RHIBs.
Designed and built locally, the Independence-class LMVs are equipped with smarter technology and sharper capabilities to enable the RSN to operate more efficiently and effectively. The ship pushes the boundaries of engineering and design to deliver a more capable, faster and mission-flexible ship. Besides advanced radars and sensors, and improved sense-making systems to enhance situation awareness and accelerate decision-making, the concept of ‘design for support’ was incorporated upfront. For example, the mast of the LMV is designed to house the ship’s sensors internally to shield them from the harsh maritime environment and provide easier access for maintenance. The design change has halved the workload for maintenance compared to the Patrol Vessels they replaced, enabling the LMVs to be manned with a leaner crew.