SINGAPORE - Construction has started on the first of eight locally-built warships for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), also known as the Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV).
This milestone was marked with a keel laying ceremony on Thursday at Singapore Technologies Marine (ST Marine) in Jurong on Thursday.
The eight LMVs will be replacing the 11 existing Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PVs) from the RSN's 182/9 Squadron under the Maritime Security Task Force. The PVs, built in Singapore nearly 20 years ago, are currently responsible for the coastal defence of Singapore's territorial waters.
Coastal vessels tend to be built smaller due to the shallower seabeds and narrower water channels that they operate in, as opposed to ocean-going vessels that have deeper keels and require more underwater clearance (draught).
According to the MINDEF website, the LMVs will be equipped with armaments like the Typhoon and Hitrole Weapon Stations, making it suitable for missions within littoral zones, or confined waters such as the Singapore Strait, and Strait of Malacca to the west.
The LMVs are also built to be versatile, capable of being configured with various "blocks", or mission modules, according to operational demands.
For instance, an LMV tasked to conduct mine disposal operations can be loaded with a mine countermeasure mission module.
Besides being equipped with advanced combat systems, the LMVs will also have a helicopter deck, allowing the RSN to project its force and carry out its missions more effectively.
As with other RSN warships, the LMVs will rely heavily on automation, allowing for a leaner crew size, as opposed to warships of similar sizes operated in other navies.
The LMVs will be built by ST Marine, together with ST Electronics and DSO National Laboratories, while the Defence Science and Technology Agency will oversee and integrate the entire LMV programme.
The first LMV will be delivered to the Navy in Jan 2016.