12 Agustus 2015
Singapore's Littoral Mission Vessel (image : Sing Mindef)
Singapore's seaward defence will get a boost when the new Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs) are fully operational by 2020.
Smarter, faster and sharper - that is the tagline for the new LMVs which will replace the 20-year-old Patrol Vessels (PVs). Designed from the onset to be operated by a leaner crew, the LMV uses technology to its advantage by automating processes with remote systems.
One example - the 80m-long warship's vital signs are monitored remotely by crew with onboard cameras and sensors. The health of its combat and other shipboard systems can be transmitted wirelessly to shore, to facilitate pre-emptive maintenance work.
In the speed department, the LMV manages very respectable speeds in excess of 27 knots (about 50kmh). It can also carry a medium-lift helicopter and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to respond quickly to security incidents. Though larger than the PV, the LMV is highly manoeuvrable and able to endure rougher seas.
On the business end, the LMV carries both lethal and non-lethal options to deal with would-be aggressors. They range from advanced missiles, large and small calibre guns to water cannon systems, and acoustic devices that are capable of projecting verbal warnings over the sea surface.
This new addition to the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s fleet is also versatile. It can be easily converted to suit different missions.
For example, it can be fitted with medical modules to support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions, as well as unmanned systems for surveillance or mine-countermeasure operations.
"The first of the new class of LMVs is faster, better equipped, with more capabilities and endurance - these ships will replace the Fearless-class Patrol Vessels… We are proud that today, in Singapore's Golden Jubilee year, we have these new ships to address growing challenges in this region."
- Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen in a Facebook post on 3 Jul, when the first LMV was launched at ST Marine's shipyard located in Benoi.
Did you know?
A unique design feature of the LMVs is the co-location of the ship's vital controls in an Integrated Command Centre. This area in the ship houses the LMV's Bridge, Combat Information Centre, and Machinery Control Room - which are usually housed in separate parts of a warship.
The LMV also has windows all-round, providing the crew with a 360-degree view of the ship's immediate surroundings - very useful in Singapore's crowded waters, where the LMVs will see most of their service.