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Singapore, US navy divers conduct counter-terrorism training as part of bilateral maritime exercise

Singapore, US navy divers conduct counter-terrorism training as part of bilateral maritime exercise

The Republic of Singapore Navy frigate RSS Tenacious firing a harpoon anti-ship missile during a coordinated strike with RSS Stalwart and the RSAF fighters, in the waters off Guam during Exercise Pacific Griffin 2021. (Photo: MINDEF)

SINGAPORE: Singapore and US navy divers have conducted maritime counter-terrorism training as part of a bilateral maritime exercise between the two countries.

The divers also completed a combined boarding of a vessel of interest, simulated by a Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) training ship, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said in a news release on Tuesday (Jul 6).  

The exercises, which started on Jun 22 and are scheduled to end on Jul 7, are taking place in the waters off Guam. 

They are part of the biennial Exercise Pacific Griffin involving RSN and the United States Navy (USN). This year's edition is the third since it was first conducted in 2017.

READ: Singapore and Australia conduct bilateral navy exercise, no physical interactions due to COVID-19

The RSN’s Formidable-class frigates RSS Tenacious and RSS Stalwart, as well as the Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel RSS Fearless, participated alongside USN’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold, auxiliary ship USNS Amelia Earhart and a Los Angeles-class submarine.

The ships took part in naval exercises for the air, surface and underwater domains, while the RSN fired torpedoes and conducted an Aster anti-air missile firing, MINDEF said.

A Republic of Singapore Navy naval diver boarding a vessel of interest, simulated by MV Avatar as part of the maritime counter-terrorism training with their USN counterparts. (Photo: MINDEF)

The US Indo-Pacific Command said on its website that the exercise would feature events both ashore and at sea, such as maritime special operations, anti-air defence exercises and anti-submarine warfare operations.

"The exercise advances the complexity of maritime training utilising diverse naval platforms and operating areas," the report said.

RSAF FIGHTER JETS PARTICIPATE

This year's exercise also saw Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fighter jets take part for the first time. An RSAF fighter detachment has been in Guam for a two-month deployment since May.

Airmen and women with the RSAF detachment, comprising its F-15SG and F-16 fighter jets, are deployed to Andersen Air Force Base on the US island territory to hone their skills.

The US base will also house an RSAF fighter detachment in the future.

"Exercising together, the RSN and RSAF executed a successful coordinated missile firing against a surface target," MINDEF said.

"The RSN and RSAF also conducted other integrated missions in support of maritime operations during the exercise, strengthening the sea-air integration between the services."

READ: Singapore, US sign agreement for RSAF training detachment in Guam

Prior to their deployment at the exercise, all Singapore Armed Forces personnel went through pre-departure isolation and tested negative for COVID-19, MINDEF said.

Colonel Ooi Tjin Kai, RSN's deputy fleet commander and exercise task force commander, said the exercise helped improve professionalism between the two navies.

"Exercise Pacific Griffin is an important part of a series of regular bilateral interactions with our US counterparts," he said.

"We always look forward to training with the USN as it provides us the opportunity to conduct exercises to hone our capabilities and enhance our cooperation."

READ: SAF to gradually resume overseas exercises; extended suspension will impact capabilities: Ng Eng Hen

Captain Chase Sargeant, USN's commander Task Force 71, said exercises like Pacific Griffin emphasise cooperation while building competencies in a complex and technologically advanced training environment.

"This exercise demonstrates the trust and expertise we have built over the years with the RSN through increasingly complex and integrated training and live-fire events," he said.

Besides bilateral exercises, both navies also engage in professional exchanges, cross-attendance of courses and multilateral exercises, MINDEF said.

"These regular interactions have enhanced cooperation and mutual understanding between the two militaries, and deepened personal and professional ties between their personnel," it added.

Source: CNA/hz(gs)

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