Two refurbished patrol vessels part of new navy flotilla
It will operate four Maritime Security and Response Vessels and two tugboats
Two refurbished Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) patrol vessels are now back and ready to more effectively defend Singapore's waters after being equipped with new capabilities such as improved ballistics protection, as well as better audio and visual warning systems.
The Sentinel-class Maritime Security and Response Vessels (MSRVs) are part of a new Maritime Security and Response Flotilla inaugurated yesterday, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef).
It added that the flotilla will operate four MSRVs and two Maritime Security and Response Tugboats for a start, with a plan to operate new purpose-built vessels - currently in the early stages of concept design - from 2026.
Two of the four MSRVs - called Sentinel and Guardian - entered operational service yesterday, while the other two - Protector and Bastion - will be refurbished and operationalised in the coming months, added Mindef.
The Fearless-class patrol vessels had been in service for about 20 years before they were replaced by littoral mission vessels. The last two of 11 operational patrol vessels were decommissioned last month.
The four MSRVs and two tugboats will operate alongside the RSN's littoral mission vessels and unmanned surface vessels to protect Singapore's territorial waters and respond to maritime incidents.
Yesterday, Chief of Navy, Rear-Admiral Aaron Beng, officiated at the flotilla's inauguration ceremony, which was held at RSS Singapura-Changi Naval Base.
Flotilla commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Lee Jun Meng, said the flotilla will strengthen Singapore's ability to deal with maritime security threats that have grown in scale and complexity through the years. Mindef said such threats include incidents of sea robbery and intrusions into Singapore's territorial waters.
"The additional capabilities will provide us with more flexibility and a wider range of responses, and allow us to be deployed for greater persistence to safeguard and protect Singapore's territorial waters," said LTC Lee.
The four Sentinel-class MSRVs were refitted to expand their operational lifespan, as well as equipped with a range of "calibrated capabilities", including for enhanced communications, improved visual and audio warning systems, a fender system and modular ballistics protection.
In line with other international maritime security agencies, the new flotilla's vessels will bear red "racing" stripes on their bow, said Mindef. Racing stripes designs are used by many coast guard vessels around the world.