Singapore, US navies conduct bilateral exercise in waters off Guam

SINGAPORE – The Singapore and United States navies are conducting a two-week bilateral exercise in the waters off Guam, which includes maritime counter-terrorism training and a simulated boarding operation by naval divers from both sides.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said on Tuesday (July 6) that the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) also fired torpedoes and conducted an Aster anti-air missile firing during the third edition of Exercise Pacific Griffin from June 22 to Wednesday (July 7).

This year’s exercise is the first time that an RSN littoral mission vessel (LMV) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) fighter jets, which are on rotational deployment to Guam from May to July, are participating in.

The RSN and RSAF jointly executed a successful coordinated missile firing against a surface target, said Mindef, as well as conducted other integrated missions in support of maritime operations during the biennial exercise.

For the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the exercise involved some physical interaction between RSN sailors and the US navy, all of whom have been vaccinated.

All Singapore Armed Forces personnel had undergone pre-departure isolation and tested negative for Covid-19 before their deployment, said Mindef.

RSN’s deputy Fleet Commander and the exercise task force commander, Colonel Ooi Tjin Kai, said the exercise, which was first held in 2017, is an important part of a series of regular bilateral interactions with US counterparts.

“We always look forward to training with the US Navy (USN) as it provides us the opportunity to conduct exercises to hone our capabilities and enhance our cooperation,” said Col Ooi.

Mindef said the RSN’s Formidable-class frigates, RSS Tenacious and RSS Stalwart, and the Independence-class LMV RSS Fearless, exercised alongside the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold, auxiliary ship USNS Amelia Earhart and a Los Angeles-class submarine.

A statement by the US Indo-Pacific Command on June 23 said the exercise will feature events both on shore and at sea, such as maritime special operations, anti-air defence exercises, anti-submarine warfare operations, and replenishments at sea serials.

The USN’s Commander of Task Force 71, Captain Chase Sargeant, said that the exercise benefits the two navies by allowing each to deepen their shared knowledge, while bolstering a strong and enduring maritime relationship.

For the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the exercise involved some physical interaction between RSN sailors and the US navy.

“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.

Mindef said Exercise Pacific Griffin highlights the strong navy-to-navy relations between Singapore and the US, as well as the excellent and long-standing bilateral defence relations between both countries.

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