Singapore navy launches fifth stealth frigate

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng on Friday launched the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) fifth stealth frigate, RSS Stalwart, at the Singapore Technologies Marine shipyard.

RSS Stalwart joined the RSN as the fourth locally-built frigate since the Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) started a Formidable-class frigate program a decade ago.

According to the program, RSN will acquire a total of six new stealth frigates to replace its Missile Gunboats which have been in service for more than 30 years.

"Highly capable and designed with stealth characteristics, the frigates' multi-dimensional war-fighting capabilities can be synergized with the combat capabilities of our air and land forces through the effective use of advanced communications and information technology," Wong said.

He added that the enhancement of the RSN capabilities will help Singapore respond to threats to its maritime security as the Malacca Straits transports 30 percent of the world's trade and half of the world's oil every year.

Designed by Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN), a French shipyard, the frigates are equipped with advanced sensor and weapon systems and will enable the RSN to undertake a wide spectrum of missions with their enhanced anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, according to MINDEF.

The first frigate of the six, RSS Formidable, was built by DCN and launched in France in January 2004. It arrived in Singapore in July this year to undergo Combat Systems checkout, integration and testing, and is expected to be fully operational in 2007.

Source: Xinhua

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