Formidable-class multi-role stealth frigates

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RSS Steadfast at berth at Changi Naval Base

The open house at Changi Naval Base gave me a chance to see a some of the Republic of Singapore’s stealth frigates – the Formidable-class vessels. They really are a good looking vessel. At berth were RSSs Steadfast, Intrepid and Tenacious.

Singapore has six of these vessels overall and they are the most modern frigates in the South East Asian area.

The vessels are multi-mission derivatives of the French Navy’s La Fayette class frigate. The frigates serve as key information nodes as well as fighting units, and the six ships form the 185 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Navy.

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RSS Intrepid at Changi Naval Base from under the bow of MV Swift Rescue

The class leader, RSS Formidable was launched on 7 January 2004 and commissioned into the Republic’s Navy on 5 May 2007. The rest of the vessels followed over the period February 2008 through to January 2009, being commissioned in two groups.

The main armament of the frigates is Boeing’s Harpoon missiles with the almost ubiquitous OTO Melara 76 mm gun for surface defence.

A S-70B Seahawk multi-mission capable naval helicopter completes the main offensive armament of the vessels in the class. These provide an anti-submarine capability along with an active low frequency towed sonar enabling long range submarine detection and classification. Lightweight torpedoes fired from two B515 triple-tube launchers hidden behind the bulwark along with the same model torpedo carried by the helicopters enable the frigates to engage submarines.

RSS <em>Tenacious</em> at berth at Changi Naval Base, SIngaporeThe full armament is, for anti-ship, 8× RGM-84C Harpoon SSM. Anti-air is MBDA Aster 15/30 launched from 4× Sylver A50 8-cell VLS. The torpedoes are EuroTorp A244/S Mod 3 torpedoes launched from both the 2× B515 triple tubes with reloads as well as from the S-70B Seahawk. As mentioned, the main gun is the Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun (mounted in a stealth cupola). Also carred are 4× CIS 50MG 12.7 mm (0.50 in) HMG, 2x 25mm Mk38 Mod2 Typhoon Weapon Station Stabilised Gun.

Electronic warfare and decoys include RAFAEL C-PEARL-M with decoys Sagem Défense Sécurité New Generation Dagaie System, 2× forward & 1× aft.

The vessels are capable of 27 knots and have a range of 4,300 nautical miles cruising at 18 knots.

The vessels on the class are:

Name Pennant
Number
Launched Commissioned
RSS Formidable 68 7 January 2004 5 May 2007
RSS Intrepid 69 3 July 2004 5 February 2008
RSS Steadfast 70 28 January 2005 5 February 2008
RSS Tenacious 71 15 July 2005 5 February 2008
RSS Stalwart 72 9 December 2005 16 January 2009
RSS Supreme 73 9 May 2006 16 January 2009
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