Four US warships to operate out of Singapore by 2018

Four US warships to operate out of Singapore by 2018
Members of the media (background) tour the deck of the USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), berthed at Sembawang Wharves in Singapore on February 17, 2015.

Four US warships will be operating out of Singapore by 2018, up from one currently, said a senior US Navy officer yesterday.

Rear-Admiral Charles Williams told Agence France-Presse that there will soon be up to four US Navy littoral combat ships (LCS) in Singapore. These vessels are designed to fight in coastal areas similar to South-east Asian waters.

"We envision four ships here by May 2017 to some time in 2018... but I think what you have is that by 2018, four LCS ships will be rotationally deployed... to Singapore," he said.

Rear-Adm Williams, who commands the 7th Fleet's Task Force 73, was speaking to reporters aboard the USS Fort Worth - an LCS on a 16-month deployment to South-east Asia.

The USS Fort Worth is the second LCS deployed here to support the US rebalance to the region, under an initiative announced at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2011.

The first LCS, the USS Freedom - the first of four such ships that Singapore has allowed to operate in its waters - completed an eight- month stint last year.

Fort Worth, which is used for operations close to shore, arrived at Changi Naval Base last December, more than a month after leaving its home port, San Diego.

The warship, which carries an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and one MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system, is operating as part of a 16-month rotational deployment to the US 7th Fleet, which conducts forward- deployed naval operations in the region.

It is conducting patrols and training with regional navies during exercises, such as the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, in South and South-east Asia. Three groups of crew will be rotated every four months to minimise crew fatigue, allowing the ship to be deployed twice as long as a typical US Navy ship deployment.


This article was first published on Feb 18, 2015.
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