Victory-class corvette

RSS Vigilence at at the dock awaiting visitors
RSS Vigilance at at the dock awaiting visitors

There were at least three Victory-class corvettes on show at the Changi Naval Base Open House – RSS Vigilance (90), RSS Valiant (91) and RSS Vengeance (93). These are neat little corvettes with extremely impressive masts. I remarked to madam as we wandered around that from a distance it almost looked like battleships with such big masts ((and no, I had not had any beer at that point, this was during my beer free period but it was hot)).

The Victory-class missile corvettes are multi-purpose ships based on the MGB 62 design by Germany’s Lürssen shipyard for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The six ships were commissioned between 1990 and 1991 and form the 188 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Navy.

Towards the end of the 1970s Singapore was looking to take more of a regional role, in particular as by this stage its economy was being based more and more on sea trade – containers in and containers out. It was necessary to be able to extend protection over a greater area than in the past.

RSS Valiant at dock
RSS Valiant at dock

This resulted in an expansion program and as part of that expansion programme, the Republic of Singapore Navy ordered a squadron of missile corvettes from Fredrich Lürssen Werft in 1983. The first of the corvettes, RSS Victory (88), was built and launched in Germany while the remaining five were built locally by Singapore Shipbuilding & Engineering. The corvettes were initially equipped with sonar and torpedoes and were therefore the first class of ships in the RSN to have anti-submarine capabilities.

Two sets of 8-cell Barak I launchers were fitted to the vessels in 1996 with a second fire control radar on the platform aft of the mast and an optronic director on the bridge roof. Rudder roll stabilisation was also retrofitted to improve sea-keeping qualities.

Like battleship masts of old - well, they looked like that at a quick glance - RSS Vigilance and RSS Vengance
Like battleship masts of old – well, they looked like that at a quick glance – RSS Vigilance and RSS Vengeance

As the vessels left the teenager years and approached 20, the RSN announced that the corvettes would undergo a Life Extension Programme. On 23 August 2011, the upgraded RSS Valiant conducted a live-firing exercise of its Barak missile, while on Exercise CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) with the United States Pacific Fleet and several other member nations of ASEAN in South-east Asia. From the ASEAN side, the navies of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand participated in CARAT 2011

In 2012 RSS Valiant was the first of the Victory-class corvettes to be upgraded with a single ScanEagle UAV.

Service life for these vessels has been extended and I must admit, they are neat looking vessels (and from a painter and modeller’s perspective, definitely a darker grey than the Formidable-class frigates).

Name Pennant
Launched Commissioned
RSS Victory 88 8 June 1988 18 August 1990
RSS Valour 89 10 December 1988 18 August 1990
RSS Vigilance 90 27 April 1989 18 August 1990
RSS Valiant 91 22 July 1989 25 May 1991
RSS Vigour 92 1 December 1989 25 May 1991
RSS Vengeance 93 23 December 1990 25 May 1991

The general characteristics of the vessels are outlined below.

Type: Corvette
Displacement: 595 t (586 long tons; 656 short tons)
Length: 62 m (203 ft 5 in)
Beam: 8.5 m (27 ft 11 in)
Draught: 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 4× Maybach MTU 16 V 538 TB93 high speed diesels coupled to 4× shafts
Total output: 16,900 hp (12,600 kW)
Speed: Maximum: 37 kn (69 km/h; 43 mph)
Cruising: 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Range: 4,000 nmi (7,400 km) at 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 49 with 8 officers
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
ESM: Elisra SEWS
ECM: RAFAEL RAN 1101 Jammer
Decoys: 2× Plessey Shield 9-barrelled chaff launchers, 2× twin RAFAEL long range chaff launchers fitted below the bridge wings
Armament: Anti-ship: 8× Boeing Harpoon
Anti-air: 2× 8-cell VLS for IAI/RAFAEL Barak
Anti-submarine: EuroTorp A244/S Mod 1 torpedoes launched from 2 × triple-tubes
Main gun: Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun
Machine guns: 4× CIS 50MG 12.7 mm (0.50 in) HMGs
Aircraft carried: 1× Boeing ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)