SINGAPORE - The Republic of Singapore Navy launched its third Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), called Unity, on Thursday morning (Oct 13) at Singapore Technologies Marine's (ST Marine) Benoi Yard.
Overseeing the launch ceremony was Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung. Also in attendance was Mr Ong's wife, Mrs Diana Ong, who launched the vessel.
The first and second LMVs, Independence and Sovereignty, were launched on July 3 last year (2015) and April 16 this year (2016) respectively. They are currently undergoing sea trials.
The Navy's newest ships, the LMVs will replace the Fearless-class patrol vessels, which were in service for about 20 years.
Faster and more versatile than the current vessels, the LMVs can also be quickly configured with software and equipment to take on a variety of missions, including unmanned systems and helicopter operations.
The 80m-long vessels were designed to be operated and maintained with a lean crew of 23, compared to the Fearless-class ships which require 30.
The navigators, warfighters and engineers all work in a unique integrated command centre, which contains the ship's bridge, combat information centre and machinery control room. In other ships, these functions would be located in separate areas.
The LMVs also feature a "stacked mast", which allows the crew to access more than 90 per cent of the ship's system components. This saves time on maintenance as the ship does not need to be docked to be maintained.
Mr Ong said the ship featured a "Uniquely Singapore" design, bringing together the efforts of the Navy, the Defence Science and Technology Agency, ST Marine and defence technology industry partners.
In his speech, Mr Ong, who is also Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), noted the significance of the ship's name and said that Singaporeans had to be united in the face of challenges, including increasing terror threats.
"Unity is our strongest defence against any sort of attack," he said.
"We must be united in our goal for a harmonious and peaceful Singapore, and stand together to guard against the growing terror threat."
This article was first published on Oct 13, 2016.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.