The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and the Republic of Singapore Navy Formidable-class multi-role stealth frigate RSS Steadfast (FFS 70) conducted a bilateral exercise in the South China Sea, May 24-25. The events included a publication exercise, flashing light exercise, maneuvering exercise, large and small caliber gun shoots, and a photo exercise. All events were planned with an emphasis on COVID-19 social distancing measures, resulting in a successful multi-event exercise, with no in-person planning.
The events were an opportunity for Gabrielle Giffords and Steadfast to practice and enhance bilateral interoperability between the two navies, with emphasis on the importance of communications and coordination while sailing together. This was the first time that Gabrielle Giffords Blue Crew sailed alongside the Singapore Navy at sea, and they demonstrated high tactical proficiency throughout the exercise. Working with Steadfast was an excellent learning opportunity and gave U.S. Navy the chance to strengthen.
Exercise Pacific Griffin, U.S.-Singapore’s most complex naval exercise to date, occurred near Guam in October 2019 and was the last time the two countries exercised at sea. The U.S. and Republic of Singapore navies work together on a number of initiatives at sea such as ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX), Exercise Pacific Griffin, Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), and Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), as well as combined operations such as multi-national counter-piracy.
Attached to Destroyer Squadron 7, Gabrielle Giffords is on a rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.