22 Mei 2010

Navy to Add Unmanned Vessels

22 Mei 2010

Meredith, unmmaned minehunter vessel (photo : DSO)

THE Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) may soon add to its arsenal unmanned underwater vessels that detect and destroy sea mines.

The remotely controlled minehunter Meredith, developed here by DSO National Laboratories, is now being tested by the navy. It will be showcased at the Navy Open House at Changi Naval Base on Saturday and Sunday.

In an interview ahead of the open house, the Chief of Navy, Rear-Admiral Chew Men Leong, said unmanned systems, a key part of modernising the RSN, can be assigned tasks 'too dangerous and difficult' for servicemen.

Having unmanned systems in operation also extends the fighting capability of the navy's ships, he added.

The 2.5m-long Meredith can operate at 100m depths for up to five hours and hit speeds of up to six knots. Its battery of electronics can scan the seabed off Singapore, which sits on a sea lane - one of the world's busiest - plied by more than 1,000 vessels daily.

The RSN has two types of unmanned surface vessels, neither of which is a mine hunter: One, the Protector, was deployed in the Arabian Gulf in 2004 and the other, the 7m-long Spartan, has been earmarked for the fight against maritime piracy and terrorism. Kitted with anti-armour missiles for offensive action, it enables warships to inspect suspicious vessels.

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