14 Oktober 2016
A total of eight Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessels will be built for the Republic of Singapore Navy. Seen here is lead ship Independence. (photo : Jane's)
Independence, the lead ship of the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN's) Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) development programme, is on track to be commissioned in May 2017.
Lieutenant Colonel Chew Chun-Chau, head of the LMV programme, told media during a sail out aboard Independence on 30 September that further testing of the ship's combat management system (CMS) and mission systems will be conducted over the following months leading up to its planned commissioning.
Lt Col Chew also highlighted that studies are under way to develop a series of mission modules that will enable the ship to be quickly configured for specialised roles. For example, he revealed that medical intervention modules - called Rapidly Deployable Maritime Containers (RDMC) - were trialled in July.
"We are also looking into deploying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the mission deck," he told IHS Jane's on the ship's 25 m-long and 12.8 m-wide mission deck. "We can install up to four 20 ft containers in the aft with a space of about 10x10 m for UAV operations.
"Right now the navy employs the [Boeing Insitu] ScanEagle UAV … and there is more than enough space to install the catapult launcher and skyhook recovery systems on this deck," he added, noting that the RSN is still exploring other UAV platforms. "If we decide to introduce vertical take-off and landing UAVs, then we don't require these [recovery] systems."
Independence was launched at ST Marine's Benoi shipyard on 3 July 2015, and had been put through a series of harbour acceptance tests and sea trials prior to its handover to the RSN Maritime Security Task Force's (MSTF's) 182 Squadron on 26 May 2016.
Eight of these 80 m-long, 1,250-tonne multimission platforms were funded by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) in January 2013. These ships will eventually replace the RSN's 11 ageing Fearless-class patrol vessels, which entered service in the mid-1990s.