No physical interaction in joint Singapore-Australia naval exercise

SINGAPORE – Singapore and Australia began their joint maritime exercise on Saturday (Sept 26) in the southern reaches of the South China Sea – with no physical interaction between personnel from both navies.

The joint exercise between the Republic of Singapore Navy and the Royal Australian Navy which are participating in the 25th anniversary of Exercise Singaroo, will go on till next Monday (Sept 28), Singapore’s Defence Ministry announced the exercise in a statement on Saturday.

“The exercise will be conducted… with no physical interactions between the personnel from both navies due to the current Covid-19 situation,” it said.

The ministry said that the RSN is participating with one Formidable-class frigate RSS Tenacious, one Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel RSS Dauntless, as well as two Victory-class missile corvettes, RSS Valiant and RSS Valour and a submarine.

Both missile corvettes will have ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The Australian navy will be deploying one Hobart-class destroyer HMAS Hobart, with an embarked MH-60R helicopter, supported by a replenishment oiler HMAS Sirius.

The exercise will also be supported by a Republic of Singapore Air Force Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and two F-16 fighter aircraft.

The navies will carry out gunnery firing, manoeuvring drills, underway replenishment, air defence exercises, communication exercises and encounter exercises where the UAVs will be deployed to provide surveillance and threat identification.

The RSN’s commander of the 8th Flotilla, Colonel Ho Jee Kien, said: “Exercise Singaroo serves as a useful platform for the RSN and the RAN to carry out high-end training across the air, sea and underwater domains.

“As we mark the 25th anniversary of the exercise this year, we look forward to many more years of close cooperation and friendship between our two navies.”

The Defence Ministry added that Exercise Singaroo is one of many bilateral military interactions between the Singapore Armed Forces and the Australian Defence Force, underscoring the close and longstanding defence relations between Singapore and Australia.

In addition to bilateral and multilateral exercises, both armed forces also interact frequently through high-level visits, regular dialogues, professional exchanges and the cross-attendance of courses.

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