The Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX) 21 exercise is taking place in the Andaman Sea. A trilateral naval exercise involving Singapore, India and Thailand is being conducted in the Indian Ocean from 15 to 16 November. SITMEX-21 will include a number of tactical training drills between the three navies such as naval manoeuvres and surface warfare exercises. It features the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) Formidable-class frigate RSS Tenacious and the Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN) Khamrosin-class anti-submarine patrol craft HTMS Thayanchon. The Indian Navy is being represented by the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk missile corvette in the exercise. The RTN is hosting the two-day exercise, which is the third edition of SITMEX.
Commanding Officer of RSS Tenacious Lieutenant Colonel Tung Wanling highlighted that the successful conduct of the exercise is testament to the long-standing ties established amongst the navies. She said, “The ability to plan and execute the serials virtually is a strong reflection of the mutual understanding and strong partnership that we have developed over these years. In spite of the COVID-19 situation, like-minded navies must continue with our interactions, such as through SITMEX, to deepen our shared understanding of maritime operations, bolster defence relations and enhance cooperation.”
RSS Tenacious (71) is the fourth ship of the Formidable-class stealth frigate of the Republic of Singapore Navy. RSS Tenacious was built by ST Marine Engineering company in Singapore around the late in the 2000s. Tenacious was commissioned on 5 February 2008. The Khamronsin-class corvettes are three corvettes constructed for the Royal Thai Navy in the late 1980s. The first two Royal Thai Navy corvettes were ordered on 29 September 1987 from Ital Thai Marine at their yard in Bangkok. INS Karmuk is a Kora-class corvette, currently in active service with the Indian Navy. Kora-class corvettes are 1,350-tonne guided missile corvettes, in active service with the Indian Navy and the National Coast Guard of Mauritius. Four vessels were built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) and outfitted at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).
The exercise is being conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of COVID-19 restrictions and highlights growing synergy, coordination and cooperation in the maritime domain between the three friendly navies. The two days of maritime drills will witness the three navies engaged in a various tactical exercises including naval manoeuvres and surface warfare drills. SITMEX-21 will fortify the long-standing bond of friendship and further enhance the cooperation between the participating navies towards augmenting the overall maritime security in the region. The first SITMEX exercise took place in September 2019 at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This lasted five days and was hosted by India. Republic of Singapore Navy hosted the second edition, SITMEX 20, last November.