The six Formidable-class frigates of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) will be given mid-life upgrades after almost two decades of service. The frigates will be given an enhanced command and control system via advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and improved sensors. This will enable the frigates to detect and react faster to potential threats. Upgrades will also be made to the frigates’ weapons and communication systems. Their weapon systems will be upgraded to be more lethal and accurate, while the ships’ communication systems will be refreshed to increase the networking capacity of the frigates with the rest of the SAF.
“Since the commissioning of the first frigate in 2007, the frigates have pushed the operating envelope for the RSN across all dimensions – air, surface and underwater – in the maritime domain. So after the upgrade, the frigates’ combat capabilities will increase and be equipped with better combat management, communication systems, weapon systems, along with improved maintenance processe. Basically, they use less, achieve more.” said the Singapore Ministry of Defence (Mindef) .
The Fleet Management System will be incorporated into the upgraded frigates. Information collected on the ships’ platform and combat systems health status will be collated and used for pre-emptive purposes, to enhance the frigates’ operational readiness. The upgrades will be done in close collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology Agency as well as DSO National Laboratories. The Singapore Ministry of Defence awarded the contract to DCNS (now Naval group) for the design and construction of six frigates. Subsequent maintenance and mid-life retrofit will be done by ST Marine.
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. Radar cross section (RCS) reduction features have been incorporated into the Formidable class design. The frigates are equipped with Boeing Harpoon missiles and Oto Melara 76 mm guns for surface defence. The frigates are also equipped with the EDO Corporation active low frequency towed sonar to enable long range submarine detection and classification, as well as EuroTorp A244/S Mod 3 lightweight torpedoes.