The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s Formidable-class frigate, RSS Supreme, successfully fired an Aster surface-to-air missile against an incoming high-speed aerial target during the biennial Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020. This is the seventh time the RSN has participated in the world’s largest international maritime exercise, which is held entirely out at sea this year due to COVID19. Held in the waters off Hawaii from 17 to 31 Aug (local time), this year’s RIMPAC exercise involves 22 ships, one submarine, multiple aircraft and about 5,300 personnel from Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore and the United States (US).
RSS Supreme was also the commander of its task group (TG2.1) and led three other warships from the Royal New Zealand Navy, Republic of Korea Navy and US Navy in anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-air exercises as well as manoeuvring drills and underway replenishment (transferring supplies from one ship to another at sea). RIMPAC 2020 marked the first overseas exercise that the RSN has participated in since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Although the exercise had been scaled down from about 30 nations and more than 200 ships and aircraft in previous years’ editions, training standards were by no means compromised.
RSS Supreme (73) is the sixth ship of the Formidable-class stealth frigate of the Republic of Singapore Navy. RSS Supreme was built by ST Marine Engineering company in Singapore around the late in the 2000s. Supreme was commissioned on 16 January 2009. The Formidable-class multi-role stealth frigates are the latest surface platforms to enter into service with the Republic of Singapore Navy, and are multi-mission derivatives of the French Navy’s La Fayette-class frigate. The six ships form the 185 Squadron of the RSN. The frigates are equipped with Boeing Harpoon missiles and Oto Melara 76 mm guns for surface defence. The frigates are also equipped with EuroTorp A244/S Mod 3 lightweight torpedoes.
The Aster missile series, primarily comprising the Aster 15 and Aster 30 are a family of vertically launched surface-to-air missiles. The name “Aster” originates from the mythical Greek archer named Asterion (in Greek mythology), Asterion likewise receiving his name from the ancient Greek word aster (Greek: ἀστήρ), meaning “star”. Aster is manufactured by Eurosam, a European consortium consisting of MBDA France, MBDA Italy (combined 66%) and the Thales Group (33%). The missile is designed to intercept and destroy a wide range of air threats, such as supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles at very low altitude (Sea-skimming) and fast flying, high performance aircraft or missiles.