12 November 2015
Naval ships from the RSN and the RTN exercising alongside each other during the sea phase of Exercise Singsiam. (photo : Sing Mindef)
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) are participating in a bilateral naval exercise, named Exercise Singsiam, from 2 to 12 November 2015. This is a biennial exercise that was first held in 1981. Hosted by the RSN, the opening ceremony was co-officiated by Colonel (COL) Edwin Leong, Commanding Officer of the RSN's Missile Corvette Squadron and Rear-Admiral Sittiporn Maskasem, Commanding Officer of the RTN's Frigate Squadron Two, at Changi Naval Base on 2 November 2015.
Following a shore planning phase at Changi Naval Base, the two navies conducted a sea phase in the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea. A Formidable-class frigate RSS Intrepid with an embarked S-70B naval helicopter, a Victory-class missile corvette RSS Vigour and an Archer-class submarine RSS Archer from the RSN participated in the exercise. The RTN deployed a Naresuan-class frigate HTMS Naresuan, a Chao Phraya-class frigate HTMS Saiburi, two S-70B naval helicopters and one Dornier-228 maritime patrol aircraft. The exercise will conclude with a closing ceremony in Phuket on 12 November 2015.
Archer class submarine (photo : Sing Mindef)
Speaking at the opening ceremony, COL Leong said, "For the first time in the history of Exercise Singsiam, we will see the deployment of RSS Archer, which is Singapore's Archer-class submarine. Both navies will also deploy their naval helicopters jointly, for the first time, to conduct anti-submarine warfare serials. The inaugural participation of these assets, made possible by the conducive conditions and vast expanse of the Andaman Sea, will open up a whole new frontier for mutual learning and cooperation. This augurs well for the future of Exercise Singsiam."
Exercise Singsiam, the 18th in its series, has expanded in scope and complexity over the years to include anti-air and anti-submarine warfare serials. The exercise underscores the close and long-standing defence ties between Singapore and Thailand, and has enhanced mutual understanding and interoperability between the two navies.