29 Juni 2016
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s Formidable-class frigate RSS Steadfast (left) leading the Multinational Group Sail (MNGS) with two other warships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) (right) and United States Navy (USN) (in far background).
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s Formidable-class frigate RSS Steadfast is the first non-United States Navy (USN) ship to lead a Multinational Group Sail to participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise, the world's largest international maritime exercise. From 18 to 29 June 2016 (Singapore time), the RSN is leading two other warships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the USN in a sail from Okinawa, Japan, to Hawaii, USA, to participate in Exercise RIMPAC. The USN is leading three other multinational groups that are sailing from San Diego and the western Pacific Ocean.
The RSN conducted naval warfare serials with the two other naval ships en route, in preparation for the high-intensity sea phase during Exercise RIMPAC. RSS Steadfast, with an embarked S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter, led the conduct of helicopter operations, surface warfare drills, gunnery firings as well as manoeuvring and communications serials. The exercise serials enhanced interoperability and mutual understanding among the naval ships.
Commenting on the navy-to-navy interactions, Commanding Officer of RSS Steadfast, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Ooi Tjin Kai, said that the Multinational Group Sail presents a valuable opportunity to strengthen inter-navy partnerships. LTC Ooi said, "The exercises at sea help to build confidence in operating with one another. As commander of a Multinational Group Sail, the RSN plays an important role in catalysing cooperation between the participating navies and we are glad to be able to value-add to the interactions."
Hosted by the USN, the biennial Exercise RIMPAC will be conducted in the waters off Hawaii from 1 July to 5 August 2016 (Singapore time). This is the fifth time that the RSN will be participating in the exercise. Exercise RIMPAC, as well as the Multinational Group Sail component, serve as important avenues for the RSN to sharpen its combat proficiencies and deepen professional ties and interoperability with the other participating navies.