23 Mei 2015
Protector USV (photo : Shephard)
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) is planning to further expand its unmanned vehicles capability, with manned and unmanned systems operating in unison, according to chief of navy RAdm Lai Chung Han.
Speaking ahead of IMDEX Asia in Singapore, Lai said the shift in unmanned capability could already be seen in mine countermeasure operations, with aerial, surface and underwater systems due to be introduced into service.
‘We have brought in the Remote Environmental Monitoring Units [REMUS], which are autonomous underwater vehicles for mine countermeasure operations. These unmanned craft can operate from various platforms and from ashore,’ he told Shephard.
‘The RSN has in recent years operationalised the ScanEagle [UAV], giving our missile corvettes an organic stand-off surveillance capability that is very useful for tactical last mile identification.’
Scan Eagle UAV onboard Victory-class missile corvette (photo : cks2k2)
The RSN has deployed Protector USVs (illustrated) for surveillance and force protection in security and counter-piracy operations in the northern Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Aden since 2005. USVs are also deployed on force protection duties at Changi Naval Base.
Other developments include deploying AUVs on search and locate operations and using USVs to intercept and warn off small boat threats.
Lai said: ‘We recognise that unmanned technology adds an extra edge to the way we operate. At the same time, these systems can mitigate the potential loss of human lives in operations and [allow] deployment of scarce manpower more productively.’
Singapore’s Ministry of Defence unveiled in March last year a roadmap for the armed forces, with particular emphasis placed on unmanned systems.
The report detailed an expansion of unmanned systems, including acquiring swarms of gyrocopter micro-UAVs for individual soldiers, and autonomous UGVs to carry heavy equipment.
A selection of RSN unmanned platforms can be seen in the Static Display at IMDEX Asia 2015.