On September 26, Singapore officially unveiled a new simulation center for its littoral mission vessels (LMVs). The move represented a key development within an aspect of the country’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its naval capabilities.
One of the many manifestations of Singapore’s naval modernization over the years has been the replacement of its existing fleet of Fearless-class patrol vessels, which have been in service for over two decades, with locally built and designed Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs) that represent a marked improvement over their predecessor.
The LMVs have been gradually unveiled since last year. The first, RSS Independence, was commissioned during the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN’s) Golden Jubilee in May 2017 by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and two more – RSS Sovereignty and RSS Unity – were commissioned in November 2017.
This week, the LMV program was in the spotlight again with the unveiling of a new LMV simulation center (SIMCEN) RSS Daring at Tuas Naval Base. The unveiling occurred at a ceremony that was officiated by Second Minister for Finance and Education Indranee Rajah and attended by other Singapore defense officials as well.
The new LMV simulation center, jointly developed by the Singapore Navy and the Defense Science Technology Agency (DSTA), is designed to integrate training in areas such as navigation, technical skills, and combat to aid crew learning and Singapore’s naval capabilities. It includes navigation, engineering, and warfare simulation in a full mockup of the LMV Integrated Command Center, and it incorporates virtual reality to offer personnel a simulated environment of operating in the LMV.
The SIMCEN, operated under the 182 Squadron and equipped with two simulation halls, is designed with a view to simulate a series of scenarios to support training for areas that include berthing, navigation and watch-keeping, weapons firing, and operations. The idea is to provide an environment for RSN personnel to hone their skills in a realistic environment an in a way that optimizes training times.
According to Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF), the center is equipped with several features including a high fidelity 360-degree projection and virtual reality – the first use of such technology in training simulation centers in Southeast Asia – along with a full range of training scenarios at the operator, cluster, and team levels and the simulation of real-life environmental conditions such as harsh weather conditions and low visibility. MINDEF has said that this has the potential to shorten the total training time required for each ship by as much as 60 percent.
The unveiling of the center came amid the commissioning of two additional vessels, the RSS Justice and the RSS Indomitable, in that same ceremony as well. MINDEF has said that it expects the three remaining LMVs to be operational by 2020.