16 Juli 2010
RSS Supreme firing an Aster 15 Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) off the coast of Hawaii during Exercise RIMPAC 2010. (photo : Cyberpioneer)
The Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) Formidable-class frigate RSS Supreme, is participating in a multilateral naval exercise with maritime forces from 13 other countries. The exercise, codenamed Exercise RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific), is hosted by the United States Navy (USN) and involves more than 30 ships, five submarines, 150 aircraft and 20,000 personnel.
This is the second time that the RSN is involved in the biennial exercise and this year's edition of Exercise RIMPAC, which will be conducted from 23 Jun to 1 Aug, comprises a shore planning phase as well as a 24-day sea phase conducted off the coast of Hawaii. In the exercise, RSS Supreme took part in maritime operations such as combined anti-submarine and air defence missions, and successfully carried out an Aster Surface-to-Air Missile live-firing on 14 Jul. Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Chew Men Leong was on board the RSS Supreme to observe the live-firing.
RSS Supreme -73 (photo : USNavy)
Commenting on the RSN's performance in the exercise, Commander US Third Fleet Vice Admiral (VADM) Richard W Hunt said, "The Singapore Navy has done a fabulous job thus far, just exactly as expected."
"I think we're giving the RSS Supreme, a good workout. We will continue to stress her as much as we can, make sure she is completely integrated and that's all going exactly as anticipated, so everything is on track right now and she is performing magnificently," he added.
VADM Hunt also commented on the interoperability of the RSN with other participating navies and said: "We (USN) work together and make sure that the interoperability works, that the tactics, techniques and procedures are all common and understood."
RSS Supreme's Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Tan Wei Min spoke about how the RSN's participation in the exercise helps build greater understanding and future cooperation with other navies.
"Exercise RIMPAC is a good opportunity for the RSN to train with other established navies. It enables us to strengthen our interoperability with the other participating navies through high intensity and complex maritime operations," he said.
Other countries taking part in the exercise include Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and the United States.
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The MBDA Aster 15 VLS surface-to-air missile provides defence against missiles to a range of 15km and against manned and unmanned aircraft to a range of 30km. (photo : Naval Technology)
The ASTER modular family of vertically launched missiles have been designed to meet the high demanding requirements of the emerging air threats such as aircraft, UAVs, helicopters and specially missiles. The ASTER missiles can be installed on ground- and sea-based platforms. They feature hit-to-kill capability, a very valuable skill against ballistic missiles.
The ASTER missiles are provided with two different boosters according to the ASTER 15 or the ASTER 30 model. The 'Pif-Paf' control system enables the ASTER missile to counter high maneuverable missiles achieving a direct impact (hit-to-kill). The 'Pif-Paf' combines conventional aerodynamic control with control by gas jets acting through the centre of gravity of the missile.
The ASTER 15 and ASTER 30 are integrated on the SAAM (ASTER 15), PAAMS (ASTER 15 and ASTER 30) and SAMP/T (ASTER 30) air defense systems. These systems will be employed by the armed forces of France, Italy and the United Kingdom.
The ASTER is a two-stage missile. The solid propellant booster is seized according to the mission profile (ASTER 30 bigger and ASTER 15 smaller). Until mid-course the guidance of an ASTER missile is based on the Inertial Navigation System (INS) updated through an uplink, in the terminal phase the guidance is provided by an active Radiofrequency seeker. The final stage of the ASTER missile is a "dart" equipped with the seeker, a sustainer motor, a proximity fuze and a blast fragmentation warhead.
The ASTER 15 is a short range missile intended for self-defense (point defense) purposes against highly maneuverable threats. The ASTER 15 is integrated on the SAAM and beginning in 2006 in the PAAMS system. The SAAM is installed on French-built frigates and the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. The PAAMS will be provided to the Horizon frigates (France and Italy) and the Type 45 destroyers (United Kingdom).
In November 2003, the European Defense Procurement Agency, OCCAR, signed a contract for Aster 15 missiles full series production under the Franco-Italian SAAM program. The SAAM-FR (France) was qualified for operational use in May 2005 after first salvo firing from Charles de Gaulle carrier during an international exercise.
Dimensions: Diameter 180 mm, Length 4.2 m Weights: Max Weight 310 kg (683 lb) Performance: Ceiling 13,000 m (42,651 ft), Max Range 30,000 m (98,425 ft), Min Range 1,700 m (5,577 ft), Top Speed 1,000 mps (Mach 3).
Sylver missile launchers (4+) plus an undisclosed number of Aster 15 missiles (50+); items: 54+; transferred from France to Singapore between 2006 and 2008. Delivery 2008 (14), 2007 (36), 2006 (0) undisclosed number of missiles?